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.

We were always conscious that there would need to be further developments in the area, but never imagined the current multi-billion dollar tragedy that is about to be foisted on Haberfield and surrounding suburbs. The EIS is illuminating and it provides an insight into just how devastating it will be for local residents who have lived in the suburb for decades.

The heritage of Haberfield was one of the reasons we purchased in this suburb. This heritage value will be significantly diminished by the demolition of 53 properties from the estate known as the Haberfield Conservation Area. Our own property is part of four semi-detached properties built in 1916 around the corner from Walker Ave. We will be mourning at the centenary. These properties are listed with the National Trust.

Without releasing its business case, the Government is proceeding with this massive Infrastructure Project. Where is the traffic modelling to demonstrate the efficacy and value for public money of the Project?

I am opposed to the construction of the M4 East Tunnel and the expenditure of billions in public funds on the project. I am appalled by the fact that the Government has derided the community’s opposition and played off inner western against western suburbs to make its case. Where does this project sit within an integrated transport strategy for the Sydney basin? Why are these precious billions not spent wisely on public transport including rail infrastructure?

Josefa Jobski

Our property and adjoining properties will be significantly affected in the construction phase and at the completion.
1. There will be damage to our immediate local amenity. Neighbouring houses in Ramsay Street are being acquired and are destined for eventual demolition. Walker Avenue will be divided from Parramatta Road to 22 Walker Avenue with access limited during the construction period. This alters dramatically the visual amenity. Residents want to know what will replace the houses being acquired from 156 Ramsay to the corner Wattle Street intersection. What is the plan for ameliorating the impact of this loss of houses?
2. There will be major increases in traffic movements during the construction phase and an unknown increased volume after construction is complete. What is the traffic plan for local residents to lead relatively normal lives? What noise and other mitigation will be provided during and after construction?
3. There will be increased volumes of heavy vehicles on residential roads. How will heavy vehicle traffic movements be managed to ensure minimum inconvenience to residents? What restrictions will be in place to manage heavy vehicles and associated construction traffic?
4. Access into and out of our driveway will be impeded increasing risk of accidents and damage to property. How will residential entry into and exit from driveways be managed?
5. Construction above ground during the day will disrupt and inconvenience all residents for years. How will this be managed?
6. Tunnelling work around the clock will mean increased stress for residents from traffic movements and noise generated.
7. Walker Avenue construction site will destroy the local neighbourhood. Its social impact is immeasurable. How will this visual and social impact be addressed?
8. Hundreds of construction workers will increase resident anxiety about property safety and potentially attract disreputable or illegal activity. How will residents be kept informed of construction progress and worker movements as well as their identification?
9. The air quality issues have not been addressed. The ventilation stacks will be close to Haberfield Public School, the Infant’s Home and residents of Walker Avenue, Ramsay Street and Denham. What scientific proof will be provided that air quality will not be considerably affected for the worse during and after construction is complete?
10. The risk of structural damage to homes of heritage vintage has not been addressed. Vibration from tunnel dig may have an impact on these homes. What measures will be taken to ensure that potential damage is identified and owners provided with compensation? Will funds be provided to residents for the preparation of dilapidation reports?
11. The tragedy for the suburb is the demolition of heritage houses from the Garden Suburb. These are all architecturally significant and unique. The loss in Walker Avenue is substantial. What will happen to space created by property demolition? What will happen to houses acquired, but not demolished? Will all this be retained in public ownership or sold off to developers?

I add these concerns to those of other objectors to the Westconnex Infrastructure Project, M$ East Tunnel.

I am deeply distressed that this expensive public project appears from the EIS to be solving very little of the traffic congestion it has been hailed as solving.

Read Kim Sun’s story from Concord or another contribution from Haberfield by Sharon Laura

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