Inner West Council Continues to Fight WestConnex

The Inner West Council will formalise its opposition to the WestConnex project at tomorrow night’s meeting, as it continues moves to hire a top lawyer and to finalise the appointment of a compliance officer to monitor work already underway.

Administrator Richard Pearson said that his motion to tomorrow night’s meeting would not only confirm the existing opposition to WestConnex, but would also propose some new measures to help reduce and respond to issues with the unpopular project.

“The previous Ashfield, Leichhardt and Marrickville Councils were all clearly in opposition to the project,” Mr Pearson said. “There is absolutely no change to that position and we will continue to force the State Government to answer to the substantial impacts and very limited benefits of the project for our residents.”

Mr Pearson said that while opposition to WestConnex prevails, he also had a duty to act to lessen the impact of work already underway.

“I am finalising arrangements with the State Government to fund a local independent WestConnex compliance officer immediately, who can respond quickly to concerns about the work that’s started,” he said.

In addition, Mr Pearson is moving to engage a prominent lawyer to advise Council on prospects of legal challenge to the project, including an injunction on the current demolition works.

“Following through on resolutions of the previous councils and advice from legal staff, we are in contact with Tim Robertson SC, who is already retained by the City and a local Resident Action group, to advise on possible WestConnex challenges,” he said.

Rounding out the moves on WestConnex will be the establishment of a specialised unit within Council to help respond to resident concerns and make sure that Council mounts the strongest case possible with regards to future stages.

Mr Pearson will also offer to coordinate a bi-monthly forum of representatives from all of the inner west WestConnex resident action groups to discuss problems and how the groups can work together to increase their impact.

“There’s nothing the government likes better than a splintered opposition,” said Mr Pearson. “If we can all work together we will be a much more powerful voice.”

Staff will also be directed to report on all outstanding Westconnex resolutions from the previous councils to make sure that nothing is missed, and to set up a community engagement plan to allow everyone in the council area to make suggestions as to how Council could respond.

“There are many residents in the community who have practical and innovative ideas on how Council can respond to the issue of WestConnex, but may not have the time to be involved in an action group,” said Mr Pearson. “We want to make sure they all have the tools to have their say.”

The meeting will be held at Ashfield Chambers, 7pm Tuesday 5 July. Council encourages members of the public to pre-register their interest to speak at Council Meetings.

For further information go to www.innerwest.nsw.gov.au/ExtraordinaryMeetings.

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