Following a community consultation regarding the CBD and South-East Light Rail project on Monday, June 30th, the Surry Hills community has expressed its disappointment at the lack of consideration and lack of transparency exercised by Transport for NSW.
At Monday night’s meeting, a Transport for NSW spokesperson announced the thirteen modifications that had been made to the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the light rail project, following public exhibition and 567 submissions from the community.
City of Sydney councillor Irene Doutney told City Hub the meeting left her concerned about the lack of consideration for the community evident in the EIS modifications.
“My concern is that City of Sydney residents are getting walked all over,” she said.
Venietta Slama-Powell, spokesperson for People Unite Surry Hills (PUSH) echoed this concern.
“Surry Hills is internationally recognised as a unique suburb and we are being completing ignored,” she said.
Cr Doutney and PUSH expressed concerns that corporate interests are being prioritised at the expense of the needs of the community.
This was brought to Cr Doutney’s attention during Monday night’s meeting, when two major modifications to the EIS were announced which were aimed at accommodating the training schedule of the Sydney Swans.
The Sydney Swans contributed financially to the development, according to Cr Doutney, and may therefore be receiving disproportionate considerate in development planning.
“My concern is that Transport for NSW are bending over backwards to ameliorate effects on the Sydney Swans stadium while ignoring the members of our community who will be impacted,” Cr Doutney said.
“It is evident to us that the government is willing to make changes for corporate interests but ignoring residents,” said Ms Slama-Powell.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said all submissions for modifications were considered.
“The City has worked with the NSW Government to ensure that the light rail extension through Surry Hills will be completed with the same attention we bring to other major projects like our upgrades of main streets,” she said.
A spokesperson for Transport NSW also said the modifications considered the community as well as stakeholders.
“The design changes were identified as a result of issues raised by stakeholders and the community during the EIS exhibition period,” he said.
Ms Slama-Powell said she and PUSH remained disappointed in the lack of transparency and explanation given by Transport for NSW on these matters.
“We used Monday night’s meeting to ask questions about why these decisions were being made and we got no valuable responses.”