Tempe residents’ opposition to the traffic plan for a proposed Bunnings development has received $25,000 in support from Inner West Council as the grassroots campaign builds momentum.
Tempe residents have opposed the proposal for years, which would see the amount of traffic more than triple on nearby narrow streets. Locals are fighting to amend the Development Application and to add a set of lights on the Princes Highway which are said to relieve the anticipated congestion.
Jack Breen, who lives on an impacted street, recently launched a GoFundMe fundraiser which has so far amassed $2700 to pay for posters and banners which he has begun to distribute.
“I saw the data myself and saw that this was going to triple the amount of cars doing down these streets, at a minimum,” Breen told the Independent.
“I can’t sit here and know this is going to happen and just say it’s too hard…and then hear about some kid getting run over on his way to school.”
The development will be in close proximity to Tempe Primary School. Photo: Jack Breen
Inner West Councillor Victor Macri put forward a motion last week to allocate $25,000 for the campaign, which was supported unanimously. Council will run ads in major newspapers, send a letter to all Tempe residents and put up banners in high visibility locations to raise awareness on the issue.
“Bunnings only has to deliver us one set of traffic lights, that’s all they have to do. All the way down the Princes Highway every large-scale operation has a set of traffic lights,” Macri said.
“I’d almost want [the NSW Government] to actually come down and have a meeting with us and take an hour to walk down those streets, it will only take you five minutes to realise what we all know.”
The Tempe Bunnings superstore will be the largest in Sydney and under the current plans will see its traffic funnelled through local streets, with the most concern for Smith and Union Street – where Tempe Public School is located.
There are fears that children at Tempe Public School will be at risk from the development. Photo: Jack Breen
Meeting the Challenge
Breen has lived on Union Street for only two years but said he couldn’t be a bystander on such an important issue. Breen works in social media and saw this as an opportunity to use his skills to get involved and make a difference.
“This latest iteration of the campaign, and really when my partner and I came into it … it’s really about making sure the community has one voice, because I think there are so many passionate people, but we needed a way to quickly educate others on this issue,” he said.
Council has praised the community’s efforts and their willingness to fund the campaign themselves.
“It is important that we stand up for our local residents, it’s really important that we make clear this is unacceptable, this is a safety issue, this is a well-being issue, and the residents need our help,” Inner West Mayor Rochelle Porteous said.
“These people are people to be supported wholeheartedly, they worked, they organised and have spent their own funds, there is no way we cannot support this,” Councillor Julie Passas said.
Breen looks forward to seeing the campaign grow to find a resolution.
“If they get the traffic management right, I would happily go down and get a sausage on the first Saturday, but we need to get [it] right because it just doesn’t make sense,” he said.
“It’s not political, it’s not anti-development, it’s about safe traffic plans and there’s an easy solution to this, which is a signalised exit.”