Haberfield & Dobroyd Point School P & Cs say M4 East threatens safety of children

The Inner West Courier reported today:

“The parents at Haberfield Public School fear our children will be at the centre of a toxic triangle of pollution stack and portals after three or more years of construction just metres away from the school,” Haberfield Public School P & C vice president Sherrill Nixon said.

Ms Nixon said the streets around Haberfield Public School will see three years of noise and heavy truck movements during construction, only to end up with polluting exhaust stacks less than 500m away.

“The impact on our school community is devastating,” she said. “We insist our kids’ learning and wellbeing comes first.”

During construction, the parents fear that safety of children hasn’t been considered, with extra construction vehicles to be in the area around Reg Coadie Reserve.”

Dobroyd Pt Public school Parents and Citizens Association is also concerned about danger to the health and safety of children. (Ed: The M4 East EIS Social Impact study omitted to include impacts on the Dobroyd Point Public School. )

Labor MP for Summer Hill Jo Haylen is also quoted in the Inner West Courier report:

“The parents are not alone in having doubts about the WestConnex project, with Summer Hill Labor member Jo Haylen also expressing her doubts.

“WestConnex fails when it comes to traffic congestion, air quality, heritage preservation and unfair acquisitions,” Ms Haylen said.

“Our kids will look back and shake their heads that WestConnex was ever built, but in the short-term, they’ll have to deal with the immediate construction chaos.”

Read the full story.

Jozefa Sobski : A local view of Westconnex M4 East from Ramsay Street, Haberfield

(Ed:This submission by Jozefa Sobski is one of thousands submitted to EIS. If you didn’t know it was there, it would be hard to find it because the Department has failed to follow its own rules and publish a list of submitters with their suburbs.)

When my partner and I purchased our home in 148 Ramsay Street Haberfield, we were aware that it was on a major arterial road near a major intersection, Wattle Street. It was 1989. The future proposals at that time were for a City West Link Road – a four lane link between the City and the F4 Freeway Interchange at Concord.

The documents at that time indicate on p9 that “not a single residential property is required.” Of course much has changed since then, including the volume of traffic on our local roads and the development of the City West Link Road. The growth in privatisation of schools has led to increased volumes of traffic as has urban consolidation and its attendant construction of major residential apartment developments.

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Dr Michelle Zeibots explains why so many Fs for Level of Service in EIS is a very bad sign

Dr Michelle Zeibots is a transport planner, specialising in the analysis of sustainable urban passenger transport systems. Michelle works at UTS at both the Institute for Sustainable Futures and in the Faculty of Engineering & Information Technology. She lectures and researches in the field of transportation engineering.

Yesterday, she published a post on her blog Letters of Transit which explains a term that regularly appears in the Westconnex EIS and business case – levels of service

The Level Of Service (LOS) framework is used to measure the performance of both roads and public transport services using a scale that moves from A to B, C, D, E and F. A is at the end of the scale that is meant to be good, while F is at the end that’s bad and meant to indicate system failure.

She concludes:

In the case of the M4 sections of WestConnex, they basically show that there is no or little improvement in congestion for many sections, and for any transport professional this sets off serious alarm bells.

Read her blog and you will see how many Fs will still be in the zone of the M4 East. Take for instance, Great North Road/Ramsay Street intersection or Parramatta Road/Hume Highway, they’ll both be F in 2031 with Westconnex.

This sounds really bad. Surely we are not going to spend $17 billion to have different cars sitting in the same traffic jams they are sitting in now. We must look more seriously at how public transport and traffic management can be used to get cars off the road.

Traffic Jam

Summary of reasons why Marrickville Council completely opposes Westconnex M4 East

In September 2015 Marrickville Council reaffirmed its “absolute opposition to the WestConnex project”. Its EIS submission to the M4 East is a powerful rejection of the project. Its staff and independent experts evaluated the EIS and concluded:

  • That the EIS does not justify that the significant expenditure on Westconnex would benefit the broader community including public transport users, pedestrians, cyclists and communities generally. The benefits for toll paying motorists indicated in the EIS are also dubious.
  • There has been no real analysis of alternatives to the M4 East and alternatives that are considered are assessed in isolation of integrated solutions.
  • The EIS assumes that all sections of WestConnex (with the possible exception of the Western Harbour Tunnel) are completed by 2031. If all sections are not completed simultaneously the traffic flowing from the M4 East will have adverse impacts on the inner
    west and central Sydney.
  • To properly evaluate the WestConnex project there needs to be an over-arching EIS for the entire project, i.e. Stages 1, 2, 3, the Southern Gateway and The Sydney Gateway; possibly also the Northern and Southern extensions.

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Department of Planning publishes M4EIS submissions –

Today, the NSW Department of Planning and Environment published the submissions for the WestCONnex M4 East.

Normally the Department publishes the name of the person who has sent in the submission with an accompanying PDF. Here’s an example from the Northconnex.

If you took a quick look at the Planning Department’s M4 East page, you could mistakenly think there were only 60 public submissions. In fact there are 4877 public submissions dumped into 60 unlabelled PDFS. The vast majority of submissions ‘object’ to to the project. Even those who only ‘comment’ rather than ‘object’ are mostly very critical of the M4 East proposal.

Unless a member of the public trawls through all submissions, he or she won’t easily find their own submission or submissions from the National Trust, the Westconnex Action Group, the No Westconnex Public Transport group and other detailed submissions from groups and experts. If the department is not equipped to deal with thousands of submission, why can’t it slow down the planning process? It is quite unfair for the documentation of public feedback for one planning application to be treated less transparently that others.

The Department’s approach to the publication of public submissions demonstrates their arrogance towards the community and how the planning process is biased and corrupted in favour of the proponent – RMS and Sydney Motorway Corporation.  It’s the same overall undemocratic approach which leads the government to grant construction contracts before the project is approved or a business case is made public.

The Department has claimed in writing that it will rigorously assess all submissions. Do they wonder why the community is cynical about their claims?

The People’s EIS will be going through the submissions and publishing some of them.

In future updates, we’ll report on the 17 Submissions from Agencies and Government Departments. There are hundreds of criticisms of the project in these submissions.

Update: The People’s EIS has complained about the way in which the public submissions have been published on the Department of Planning website. Senior Planner Brent Devine who is managing the process said it was because it had to be done as quickly as possible which simply confirms that the planning process is being rushed to suit the WestCONnex. He is going to look into whether an index with names and suburbs of submitters can be published. We expect to hear back in a day or two.


Why WestConnex will cost so much for so long

It’s just been announced that WestConnex users will be paying tolls for 43 years, including the bits that are currently free.


Put simply, WestConnex is horribly expense.


It’s not a telephone number. It’s the estimated cost of building WestConnex. Fifteen billion dollars.

Someone has to pay for it.

WestConnex will be able to carry maybe 100,000 drivers a day.

The interest bill alone has been estimated at $630 million. Dividing that between 100,000 drivers a day, 365 days a year, means each driver needs to pay $17, just to pay the interest.

And if business is going to touch it, they’ll want to do a lot better than just paying off the interest.

WestConnex is a seriously bad investment. There are better alternatives.

Serious flaws in Social and Economic Impact study

(The People’s EIS has already published a number of individual stories that demonstrate the severe social impact of the proposed project. We have suggested that the GHD Social and Economic Impact study that was prepared in conjunction with AECOM is inadequate. These reports were contained in Appendices M and N and were combined into a single chapter in the main report.)

The reports find major short term impacts would be experienced in Haberfield, Homebush and elsewhere. Here is a summary of the reports.

The consultant recommends mitigation for a number of potential impacts but overall the report fails the convey the seriousness and significance of impacts, some of which are already occurring.

This post presents some additional reasons why the social and economic impact reports are inadequate.

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Why Westconnex is not an integrated transport solution

By Cameron White

Independent Researcher

This submission addresses the issue of whether the Westconnex project meets the goal of sustainability. It begins by setting out what the project and the EIS purports to do and then critiques those claims. It finds that Westconnex despite its claims is NOT an integrated transport solution.

The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Westconnex East highlights the unsustainability of current transport infrastructure systems in western and inner-western Sydney. This issue of sustainability is defined in terms of congestion, amenity, health, safety and climate change. The ‘Application Report’ for the Westconnex East EIS shows ‘transport emissions produced from the use of fuels are currently the third fastest growing component of NSW-generated greenhouse gases’. Transport trends in Sydney and Australia are consistent with these issues. Per capita levels of car use have been in decline since 2004 and demand for public transport and active forms of transport are rapidly increasing (SGS, 2015).

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Why no extension for consultation ?

For months, local councils, MPs and groups opposing Westconnex have been asking for an extension of the consultation period. The minimum period is 30 and groups requested either a minimum of 60 days or three months. When the EIS turned out to be 5000 pages, the community groups renewed their calls including staging a ‘read-in’ of the EIS at the Department of Planning. The Department granted 45 days and this was extended for a further ten days when Westconnex failed to file all the documents correctly.

On the face of it, the requests for an extension for such a huge project would seem very reasonable – the refusal to provide an extension or even to give reasons for not providing one fuels community fears that the process is only a sham.

This letter was sent by one of the People’s EIS team Wendy Bacon to the Senior Planner responsible for the M4 East assessment in the Department of Planning Brent Devine on October 13, 2015.

Dear Brent,

Thank you for speaking with me this morning. The point of my call was to express my concern about the lack of time granted to the community to respond to nearly 5000 pages of EIS. Originally the community was only given 45 days, although the community affected by the Northconnex was given 60 days. This seemed unfair and disproportionate given the difference between the projects. The period was extended after Westconnex failed to properly file their documents.

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