WestConnex EIS jumps the gun

Friday 18 August 2017

The Government’s decision to release the WestConnex Stage 3 EIS (M4-M5 Link) just days after the end of the consultation period on the Concept Design has short-changed the inner west community, the Administrator of Inner West Council Richard Pearson said today.

“Just 10 working days after the community consultation period closed, the Government has released the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS),” Mr Pearson said.

“This is a slap in the face to anyone who made the more than 1,500 submissions - people who took the time to raise issues and call for changes on the design.

“Council itself made a comprehensive and very credible 142 page submission on the Concept Design,” he said.

“I’m disappointed the Government is not interested in looking at these detailed submissions and that options that could improve the proposal or mitigate the impact of the motorway have not been considered,” Mr Pearson said.

“The Government claimed all feedback received on the Concept Design would be considered as part of preparation of the EIS in order to help create better outcomes for the community.

“But clearly they were ready to press the print button on the EIS the minute the community consultation period on the Concept Design ended,” Mr Pearson said.

Council’s detailed expert submission on the Concept Design called for fundamental redesigns of WestConnex Stage 3 that would improve the project and mitigate impacts on inner west communities.

This included a more direct connection to Sydney Airport and Port Botany and abandonment of surface connections to Anzac Bridge, City West Link Road, The Crescent and Johnston Street from the proposed Rozelle interchange to better manage traffic and amenity impacts.

“There is no evidence in this EIS that the State Government has made any changes as a result of Council’s submission,” Mr Pearson said.

“Our extensive list of suggestions should have received detailed scrutiny and could have helped improve the project by better managing traffic issues, pollution problems, and even reducing project costs.”

Preliminary analysis of the EIS has revealed that there have been either no changes to the Concept Design, or – in some cases – the situation has worsened for inner west residents:

• The Darley Road Leichhardt mid-tunnel construction dive site has not only been retained, but is now marked as a ‘permanent facility’, “Including a substation and water treatment facility both four metres high,” Mr Pearson said. Council’s submission had called for no dive sites at either Darley Road or in Camperdown’s Bridge Road amid concerns about safety, noise, dust and traffic impacts. Council identified a lower-impact potential dive site option at the western end of Rozelle Rail Yards which has now been scrapped.                                                   

• No change to large unfiltered ventilation stacks at Haberfield, Rozelle Rail Yards, Victoria Road and St Peters, despite these being one of the most concerning aspects for the local community. Council had called for all ventilation facilities to be fully filtered amid strong concerns about air quality impacts.

• The new ‘linear park’ above the Rozelle interchange is now “less linear and more fragmented,” Mr Pearson said, with three ventilation stacks up to the height of 11 storey buildings, a water treatment plant, a ventilation supply facility and tunnel portals now breaking up the site.

Mr Pearson said Council is currently conducting a thorough analysis of the EIS in tandem with its team of experts and would be making a comprehensive submission to Government.

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