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Demolition Postscript

posted Apr 7, 2012, 6:02 PM by Site Editor
The houses and businesses compulsorily acquired for the RRL project were demolished by December 2011. Only two buildings remain at this time - the old Pedders buiding on Buckley St and the Sidelink Transport depot at Joseph Road.

For the residents affected, people are getting on with their lives, as people do. Some have coped with the upheaval well and some less well. As predicted, a number of people were forced to move further afield from Footscray because the compensation was insufficient to buy back into the area.

See the comprehensive photo gallery at the 'Rail Geelong' rail enthusiasts web site.


Just when people had started to put the experience behind them, wounds were reopened by one of the legal firms (Slater and Gordon) issuing a media release boasting of their efforts in obtaining 'six-figure sums' for the residents they represented.

"After nearly two years, a David and Goliath struggle between a group of close to 20 Footscray homeowners and the Department of Transport is over. The residents, who in 2010 discovered their homes sat in the path of the new Regional Rail Link project, have each received six-figure sums in compensation for the compulsory acquisition of their homes. Slater & Gordon commercial litigation lawyer Ben Hardwick said the Buckley St residents had received significantly more than the Department’s initial offer..."

This release was picked up by a couple of radio stations, which led to some of the affected residents receiving calls of congratulations from friends and aquaintences who heard the reports.  

The fact is that most people were not pleased with the settlement. The compensation in some cases was insufficient to allow people to buy back into Footscray. To say that people have received 'six-figure' sums makes it sound like everyone hit the jackpot. One would certainly hope nobody received a five-figure sum for their homes!

Nor is it altogether true to say that people received significantly more than the initial offer. This too makes it sound like people did really well in the negotiation, whereas people generally received a pretty average market rate.

This press release seems like a clumsy effort by Slater to promote the firm, without thought as to how this information will be inferred by the public at large. It's bad enough that people experienced the trauma of losing their homes without now having to deal with the perception that they've struck it rich in the process. Nice bit of work, Slater and Gordon.