WestConnex continues to wreak havoc on communities across the inner west. I am firmly opposed to the project and will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with inner west residents worst affected by this polluting toll-road.
While I share the relief of Haberfield Public School parents and carers that the “Option B” sites located at the former Muirs car yards on Parramatta Road, will no longer be used for tunnelling, I am dismayed that Haberfield and Ashfield residents will be forced to live with years more construction than first promised.
I raise the following concerns with the proposed modification of the M4-M5 Link:
- Northcote Street: Residents on Northcote Street, Haberfield, will be forced to cope with round-the-clock construction and tunnelling until 2023. This includes up to 140 heavy vehicles are set to access the Northcote construction site every day. Residents continue to complain about workers parking on Northcote Street, on damage to property, as well as ongoing issues with dust, noise and vibration.
- Spoil Route and Reg Coady: The Government proposes heavy vehicles use local streets or alternatively extend the operation of the G-Loop, meaning residents will not have access to Reg Coady Reserve for years to come. Either option is detrimental for Haberfield residents, who are given a choice of either the continued loss of their park, or heavy vehicles on Wattle St, Dobroyd Parade, Ramsay and Fairlight. Residents on these streets have already endured years of construction and heavy vehicles. Residents are sceptical they’ll end up with both.
- Access tunnel impact on homes: A new access tunnel will be dug beneath residential homes in Wattle, Walker and Alt Streets, impacting residential properties. The Government will not countenance offering compensation to landowners for sub-surface acquisitions and there have been persistent concerns with the management of complaints around property damage from vibration. It is unclear as to whether these homeowners will be given dilapidation reports. I strongly urge that Sydney Motorway Corporation provide dilapidation reports to all affected homeowners.
- Muirs sites: While the community is broadly supportive of the decision to no longer allow tunnelling at the former Muirs car yard sites, concerns remain around increased traffic, with 200 cars a day slated to use the car park, and a shuttle bus for workers moving through local traffic on a regular basis. Questions remain around the decision by Roads and Maritime Services to purchase these sights when their future use for construction was uncertain. The community seek a firm confirmation fact that Liverpool Rd, Ashfield, will no longer be used as a spoil route, and that a clearway will no longer be considered by Roads and Maritime Services.
- Pedestrian safety: Cars will exit and enter the parking site via Bland Street, which is already extremely busy and dangerous, particularly for students walking to nearby Haberfield Public School. There have been persistent issues with pedestrian safety at this intersection and I am particularly concerned given that the corner is heavily utilised by students and families as they walk to and from school. I strongly urge the Minister to address community concerns about safety at this intersection and to make further modifications to traffic movements around the proposed car park to better manage safety.
- Footbridge: The pedestrian footbridge for construction workers is important for worker safety, but it is concerning this will not be available for the public given the issues detailed above. I urge the Minister to consider amendments that will improve pedestrian safety for the public at this intersection.
- Crossing guard: There will be increased traffic on Bland Street as a result of the 200 vehicles parking at the site each day. Haberfield Public School have asked for a crossing guard to be allocated to the crossing for the duration of WestConnex construction. A child was struck at this location eighteen months ago, and the Government should take immediate action before another accident occurs.
Impacts in adjacent communities:
- The decision to abandon plans for a dive site on Darley Road will come as a comfort to Rozelle residents and community groups who fought so resolutely against the move. Questions remain around the highly contested acquisition of the Dan Murphy’s site for this use, and the prospect of other sites being purchased for land-banking.
- I share the community’ deepest disappointment and frustration that that WestConnex has seemingly walked away from its commitment to transforming drainage in Camdenville Park, St Peters, into a thriving wetland environment named after Peter Bulger.
- Instead, the St Peters community will be foisted with an operational water treatment plant, despite bearing the brunt of years of construction already. Residents have raised concern that runoff from the project may be directed into local stormwater drains operated by Sydney Water. Residents have raised concerns about additional traffic impacts, as well as impacts to local water and soil quality, noting also that some of the suburb is located amongst industrial lands underneath the flight-path.
WestConnex continues to detrimentally impacts communities along its paths, and I am deeply concerned that this modification only promises more pain for residents in Haberfield, Ashfield and St Peters.
The Government’s rationale for the project continues to flounder as costs continue to blow out and as questions mount about the financial stability of this polluting toll-road.
I ask you to please consider the strong concerns around this modification from the inner west residents I represent, as well as their overwhelming objection to this project.