Inner West WestConnex Compliance Officer
The inner west community will have a dedicated WestConnex Compliance Officer who will monitor work on the motorway project.
The new Officer who will be based in Council’s offices at Ashfield will be funded by the Department of Planning and Environment (DPE), after Inner West Council successfully lobbied the NSW Government.
The Officer will have statutory powers to enforce all development approvals that apply to WestConnex works undertaken by Sydney Motorway Corporation.
“The Compliance Officer will work closely with Council and our community to ensure concerns are addressed in a rigorous and timely manner,” the Administrator of Inner West Council Richard Pearson said.
“Just last week, the Australian Government granted approval for stage two WestConnex (new M5 including St Peters Interchange) works to commence.
“This will cause major disruption to pedestrians and residents. It will involve digging up Council footpaths, removal of Council trees, and according to WestConnex officials, probably the permanent placement of an electronic road sign on a local Council footpath.
“While Inner West Council has no powers to stop the works, the new Compliance Officer can certainly ensure they are properly monitored and done in accordance with conditions of approval,” Mr Pearson said.
“And this comes after much community anger over the recent demolition of historic homes in Ashfield and Haberfield, and whether the salvage of heritage items from those homes is being done in accordance with conditions of approval,” Mr Pearson said.
“This is exactly the sort of situation an inner-west-based Compliance Officer could have been monitoring right from the start.”
The appointment of the WestConnex Compliance Officer – who will start work this week – is the latest measure taken by Inner West Council to reduce and respond to issues associated with the road 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 Inner West Council will continue to advocate its strong opposition to the project.”
Mr Pearson said that Council has also engaged a prominent lawyer to advise Council on prospects of legal challenge to the project – including an injunction on demolition works – as well as establishing a specialised WestConnex Response Unit within Council to help respond to resident concerns and make sure that Council takes a strong role in ensuring resident concerns are taken on board for future stages of the project.
Mr Pearson said he will also coordinate a monthly forum of representatives from all of the inner west WestConnex community groups to discuss issues and how they can be responded to.
The Compliance Officer will be located within Inner West Council in the new specialised unit, but will report to DPE.