The Age: East West Link battle goes underground. Sue Hewitt (August 6, 2014)
The East West Link tunnel battle has moved “underground” with claims historic titles give people ownership of their land to the centre of the earth – right in the path of the tunnel, according to legal experts.
Land titles pre-dating 1891 cover the ownership of sites from ground level to the planet’s core.
Manisha Blencowe, of Slater and Gordon, said the Linking Melbourne Authority would be forced to compulsorily acquire the land underneath houses on top of the proposed tunnel.
The houses would remain, but the authority could seize the subterranean land and property owners could seek compensation, she said.
She said 200 properties sat on top of the proposed tunnel, but the law firm had not yet established the number with historic titles to the centre of the earth.
But many of the areas running over the tunnel, such as Collingwood, Clifton Hill, Fitzroy, North Carlton and Parkville, were historic and could have the old land titles, she said.
She said newer titles owned the rights to underground land to a depth of about 15 metres – the starting depth of the proposed tunnel.
She said the depth of the tunnel appeared to have been made to avoid the acquisition of ground underneath newer land titles.
Slater and Gordon is acting on behalf of individuals who have been told their houses will be acquired and will be offered compensation.
Those with old titles and rights to unlimited underground land, who faced acquisition of their subterranean land, would have to apply for compensation, she said.
She said she did not know what the substratum land would be valued.
Ms Blencowe and other Slater and Gordon lawyers attended a meeting in Clifton Hill, which attracted about 150 residents affected by the toll project on Tuesday.
Flemington Association president Les Potts said Moonee Valley residents were concerned about the East West Link Ormond Road off ramp impacts, as well as the Flemington Road off ramp.
These issues will be discussed at a community meeting at the Flemington Community Centre next Wednesday, August 13 at 7pm.
Residents Against the Tunnel spokeswoman Harriet Mantell said many residents had already received telephone calls advising them their properties would be acquired.
She said once they received formal acquisition notices, the properties could be acquired in mid-October.