BY STEPHANIE TILLER
Camperdown community members are calling for better consultation and transparency over a proposed WestConnex dive site on Parramatta Road.
The dive site will be used for tunnelling and construction of the new M4-M5 Link, which connects M4 East at Haberfield and the New M5 at St Peters via Rozelle.
Parramatta Road, Pyrmont Bridge Road and Mallett Street in Camperdown border the proposed location of the site.
Lesley Treleaven, Spokesperson for Camperdown Residents Aware of WestConnex (CRAW), says the Sydney Motorway Corporation (SMC) and New South Wales Government need to provide more consultation for the site.
“I raised the lack of consultation with Camperdown residents at the Inner West Council meeting on February 28 and administrator Richard Pearson wrote to SMC requesting more information and to do whole community consultations with Camperdown residents.
“So far the response has been predictable silence.
“On the WestConnex website they claim there has been consultation with the community on the M4-M5 link. No such consultation has happened,” she said.
Ms Treleaven also raised concerns over the suitability of the location of the proposed dive site.
In its current form the site would sit opposite a kindergarten to-year-four primary school that also runs a year five-to-six transitional program for children with mental health disabilities.
“The site proposed in the triangle bounded by Pyrmont Bridge Road, Mallett Street and Parramatta Road is opposite a school and in a densely populated area with already congested local roads.
“There will be upwards of 300 heavy trucks removing soil daily for about four years.
“This site is totally unsuitable for a dive site and we call upon decision makers to rule it out categorically,” she said.
A spokesperson for the Sydney Motorway Corporation said they are committed to minimising community impacts as the roll out of WestConnex progresses.
“Updated design features for the M4-M5 Link were announced on 10 November 2016, including removal of the tunnel exit and entry ramps at Camperdown and a mainline tunnel of four lanes in each direction.
“At this time, a proposal to locate a mid-tunnel construction site between Pyrmont Bridge Road, Parramatta Road and Mallett Street, Annandale was released.
“Sydney Motorway Corporation and Roads and Maritime Services are having ongoing discussions with community groups and stakeholders, including the Department of Education regarding proposed construction sites,” they said.
A spokesperson for the Inner West Council said they were concerned about the impact the proposed dive site would have on Sydney’s Inner West community.
“Council’s Administrator wrote to SMC on March 1 calling on them to release information on the proposed Camperdown dive site and to conduct an immediate community consultation campaign.
Inner West Council has not been formally consulted about the proposed Annandale/Camperdown dive site and is not aware that SMC has undertaken any formal consultation of residents on this matter,” they said.
Greens MP for Newtown, Jenny Leong, says the dive site will cause further traffic congestion on Sydney’s already gridlocked roads.
“Putting a ‘temporary’ construction site in Camperdown surrounded by residential, educational, health and local businesses is as ill-conceived as the other two proposed sites in Leichhardt.
“You just can’t put a major construction site right in the middle of one of Sydney’s busiest main roads, opposite a primary school and other educational facilities, and think that the constant movement of large semi-trailers hauling spoil for five years, won’t cause absolute havoc,” she said.
A petition created by Newtown Residents Against WestConnex and CRAW is calling on the NSW Premier, Minister for WestConnex and Minister for Roads to rule out the possibility of a dive site in Camperdown.
The petition has attracted approximately 200 signatures to date.
Ms Leong says it is time for Gladys Berejiklian to recognise this is a completely unworkable situation.
“It’s time for her and the Minister for WestConnex to take a deep breath and call a halt to construction so that alternate options can be considered,” she said.
A spokesperson for the Sydney Motorway Corporation says further community consultation will occur once the M4-M5 Link design report is released.
“Community members will have the opportunity to provide further feedback on the proposed mid-tunnel construction site when the M4-M5 Link design report is released in the coming weeks and during the EIS consultation period in the middle of this year,” they said.
A community meeting organised by CRAW and supported by the office of Jenny Leong will be held on April 2 to provide information to Camperdown residents about the proposed site.