The Minister for Planning’s approval of the M4-M5 WestConnex project has revealed yet another potential failure around Government acquisitions for the WestConnex project.
First, the Government was forced to compensate owners after admitting residents were ripped off tens of thousands of dollars off the value of their homes and businesses for the M4 East project.
Then the Government was left egg-faced last month when the NSW Supreme Court declared the compulsory acquisition of Desane-owned land in Rozelle for the project as “improper” and surplus to the project’s needs.
Now the NSW Opposition is demanding the Government rule out yet another acquisition bungle, with the purchase of two sites on Parramatta Road in Haberfield seemingly undermined by the planning approval issued by the Minister for Planning.
Roads and Maritime Services purchased the two landmark properties formerly owned by Muirs Holden in anticipation of M4-M5 Link construction, but the planning approval for the project fails to determine whether or not they will be used for construction. Instead, the decision has been left up to project contractors.
Residents have raised serious and persistent concerns about the site, including its proximity to Haberfield Public School.
The Department of Planning itself clearly indicates in its own Environmental Assessment Report that the Muirs sites are inferior options for construction given the:
“extension of traffic, noise amenity and land use impacts, particularly from the cumulative perspective, presents a greater impact to amenity, land use and property impacts to the Haberfield/Ashfield area.”
No matter which construction option is chosen, Haberfield residents face three years more of construction noise, dust and disruption, despite being promised that construction would end in 2019 with the completion of the M4 East project.
Quotes attributable to Member for Summer Hill, Jo Haylen
“The community deserves to know how much Roads and Maritime Services paid for these sites and why they were bought at all.
“Possibly, millions of dollars have been spent on land that may never be used and which all the evidence points to be an inferior option.
“It’s clear the Minister has ignored his own Department’s advice and given everything we know about the Desane site and the unfair acquisition of properties for the M4 East and new M5, residents are right to raise the red flag.
“The Government needs to come clean if we’re to have any confidence this isn’t yet another abuse of its compulsory acquisition powers.
“No matter which construction option the Government chooses, residents face another lose-lose situation with years more noise, dust and disruption.
“The least they are owed is assurance that the Government has not acted improperly, again.”