WestConnex “Clayton's” consultation an insult to the inner west

Thursday 25 May 2017

Inner West Council has slammed the latest round of WestConnex community consultation as “inaccurate, confusing and misleading”.

WestConnex is inviting comment on the M4-M5 Link Concept Design – “to a point,” said Inner West Council Administrator Richard Pearson.

“The opportunity to feedback on the design is incredibly narrow,” he said. “Just eight aspects of the Concept Design are open for comment – and these include the architectural design of the ventilation stacks and the entry and exit points!”

“I know our local residents will have a lot more to say about these than what they look like,” he said.

Council has already labelled the Concept Design, “deliberately vague on construction details for the project, with a map (figure 6.1) showing large areas as ‘potential construction areas’.

“How can the community properly comment on a design that raises more questions than answers?” asked Mr Pearson.

Council has noted that the Concept Design is “inaccurate, confusing and misleading”, and that there seems to be deliberate omissions of adverse features, the locations of schools and aged care facilities, and traffic impacts.

At the Council meeting on Tuesday night, Council resolved to make urgent representations to the Minister for WestConnex to withdraw or augment the “general, vague and selective” Concept Design.

“But these are not the only problems. On top of all this, the opportunity to comment is very difficult to find on the WestConnex website, and when you do find it, it is a 6 megabyte download,” Mr Pearson said.

“Plus, the consultation does not conform to any best practice models – the font size does not meet accessibility standards, there’s no stated end date, and no explanation of what will happen to the feedback apart from saying vaguely that the feedback will ‘inform our Environmental Impact Statement’.

“Council will urge the Minister to put in place a firm closing date for submissions, and that this be not less than eight weeks from the date of new or amended plans being released,” Mr Pearson said.

“There must be proper purpose to this consultation. The community’s comments must be factored into the EIS. There must be absolutely no overlap of the exhibition of the Concept Design with exhibition of the EIS. The whole stated purpose of exhibiting the Concept Design was to enable the community to see what was proposed, give their input and then see that reflected in the EIS," Mr Pearson said.

“If what we are hearing is true, that the EIS may come out before comments are received and considered on the Concept Design, then this is completely unacceptable, and makes no sense at all.

“I would hope that when the Minister becomes aware of this he will agree and ensure that the EIS is not released until comments have been received and fully considered. Otherwise it truly will meet the test of a “Clayton's” consultation," Mr Pearson said.

Sydney Motorway Corporation's Community information sessions will be held in Camperdown on Thursday 25 May 4pm - 7pm, Leichhardt on Saturday 27 May 11am - 2pm, Newtown on Tuesday 30 May 4pm - 7pm, Balmain on Thursday 1 June 4pm – 7pm, and Haberfield on Wednesday 7 June 4pm - 7pm.

For more information, go to https://www.westconnex.com.au/m4-m5-link-get-involved

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