Inner West Independent

Balmain Leagues Club site no longer needed for Western Harbour Tunnel

Ba,main Leagues Club

The NSW government will not be using the disused Balmain Leagues Club (pictured) for the Western Harbour Tunnel. Photo: The Weekly Times.

By DANIEL LO SURDO

The NSW government announced on Tuesday that the abandoned site of the Balmain Leagues Club would no longer be required as part of the multi-billion dollar Western Harbour Tunnel project, in a move that has been celebrated by the Inner West community.

Transport for NSW said that the site was discovered to not be needed for the first stage of construction in January this year, and was then also found unnecessary for the second stage of works after discussions between the state government and its industry partners.

Greens State Member for Balmain, Jamie Parker, said that the news came as “a huge relief for local residents already being assaulted by WestConnex construction”.

“It also means that the owner of the site can get on with securing and demolishing it.”

The state government’s decision to hand the site back to the owners means that a much-awaited rebuild of the Tigers League Club, along with new apartment buildings, a supermarket and a town square, can go ahead.

The site was expected to be occupied for seven years while the Western Harbour Tunnel, an underground harbour crossing between Cammeray and Rozelle, would be completed. Transport for NSW confirmed that major construction for the tunnel was still scheduled to begin in mid-2022.

Council sends emergency safety orders to Balmain Leagues Club

Emergency safety orders were issued by Inner West Council to the owner of the Balmain Leagues site and Transport for NSW earlier this week, after a large fire tore through the site. After the orders were issued, Inner West mayor Darcy Byrne said it was a “disgrace that the NSW government has to be forced to clean up this dangerous fire and asbestos hazard”.

Inner West mayor Darcy Byrne. Photo: Facebook.

Council had staunchly objected to the use of the Balmain Leagues site for the tunnel, saying that it “would result in significant construction impacts and would unduly delay redevelopment of this site”.

They added that the state government’s occupation of the site would be “essentially eliminating” the redevelopment of a new Tigers Leagues Club at the site, and would also cause road safety, noise and traffic impacts across the area.

The Western Harbour Tunnel, along with the adjoining Beaches Link project, is expected to cost $14 billion and will connect the Rozelle Interchange to Balgowlah in the Northern Beaches.

Transport for NSW said that it is “now working with affected stakeholders on next steps” with construction and that they’re “always looking for ways to mitigate [major project] impacts and deliver positive outcomes”.

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