Jo Haylen MP, Member for Summer Hill, today slammed the decision by the Berejiklian Government to release the environmental impact statement (EIS) for the third stage of WestConnex only weeks after submissions for the concept design closed.
The EIS reveals that the cost of the M4-M5 Link is $7.2 billion, totalling almost half of the total estimated $16.8 billion cost of WestConnex.
The EIS is being released days after Parramatta Road went into gridlock as drivers avoided new tolls on the widened M4 and the Treasurer announced the sale of 51% of the project.
The EIS reveals the following for Haberfield and Ashfield:
- Two options for new tunnelling in Haberfield: one within the existing construction zone at Wattle Rd, Parramatta Road and Walker Ave; or the other at an expanded construction site on Parramatta Road West requiring additional acquisition of property;
- Construction in Haberfield will continue well beyond the 2019 deadline for the M4 East to the end of 2022, with 24/7 tunnelling that will last for almost two years;
- The use of existing above-site construction sites for ancillary activities, including worker parking and offices, meaning that those lands are not returned to the local community until 2022;
- Up to 150 cars will be parked at the Northcote or Parramatta Road East civil sites, depending on which is chosen;
- Wolseley Street will see additional light vehicle traffic as workers access the site and park their vehicles;
- Heavy truck movements and spoil handling 24/7, with up to 140 daily truck movements in Haberfield depending on which construction option is chosen;
- Up to 90 staff at some construction sites at night during peak construction workforce periods;
- Little information is provided as to how the project would manage “interface agreements” with utility providers, leaving residents in doubt as to whether their significant concerns around the coordination of construction activities will be better managed.
- An exhaust stack for the M4-M5 Link will be located in the existing ventilation facility on Wattle Street, in close proximity to Haberfield Public School, child-care centres, nursing homes and private residences;
- Temporary ventilation facilities will be installed at various locations as part of the construction process;
- Four stacks will be built in Rozelle and an additional exhaust stack in Alexandria in addition to the one planned for St Peters.
- The proposed tunnel route travels from beneath Wattle Street and Alt Street, impacting local streets around Martin Street and Algie Park, converging at Rawson and Dalhousie Streets and then onto Rozelle and St Peters under Turner Avenue, Tillock Street and Dudley Street.
- The EIS fails to indicate how the M4-M5 tunnels would interface with tunnels for the proposed Sydney Metro project, saying only that there is “insufficient public information available.”
Comments attributable to Jo Haylen MP, Member for Summer Hill:
“The Government’s consultation with the community has consistently been a sham, and now they’re trying to ram this through in the face of strong community opposition.
“At every stage, WestConnex has run roughshod over the inner west community and this is no different.
“Extending construction in Haberfield until 2022 shows just how little this Government understands the hell they’re putting residents through, and just how little they care.
“The Government has put forward a false choice between two worst case scenarios - continued tunnelling at Walker Avenue or a new construction site down the road.
“In either case, residents will continue to see 24/7 tunnelling, dust, noise and disruption until 2022.
“I challenge the Premier to come to Haberfield to see the chaos and disruption for herself, and then look residents in the face and tell them it will continue for three more years.
“There are still real questions about air quality for kids at Haberfield Public School and child care centres, as well as residents in nursing homes and surrounding properties.
“All in all, this is yet another slap in the face for inner west residents who have frankly had enough of this Government’s secrecy and addiction to polluting toll-roads.”