The Coalition Against WestConnex (CAW) hand-delivered more than 10,000 written submissions and community objections to the WestConnex M4-M5 Link Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to the Planning Department’s head office on October 16.
Spokesperson for WestConnex Action Group and No WestConnex: Public Transport Anne Picot said: “This unprecedented number of objections to the Stage 3 EIS represents the strength of opposition to WestConnex, and the traffic inducing M4-M5 Link. We are confident that thousands more objections have been lodged on-line.
“When you consider that the public had to wade through more than 7000 pages of technical details, and had only 60 days, this is a clear statement to the [NSW Coalition] government that Sydney doesn't want this polluting, toxic toll road.
“We are hand delivering the submissions to the Department of Planning to demand that it reject this EIS. It has sufficient detail and certainty to constitute a proper statement of the true impacts of this terrible project, which is not the solution to Sydney’s transport woes.”
Spokesperson for Leichhardt Against WestConnex (LAW) Jennifer Aaron said: “The EIS only contains an indicative design for a three-level underground interchange at Rozelle, an engineering world first. The government has so far been unable to find a suitable contractor to build the interchange.
“Serious concerns have also been revealed over the probity of the acquisition of the Dan Murphy’s site in Leichhardt for a dive site, and the premier [Gladys Berejiklian] has been referred to ICAC in relation to the transaction. This EIS cannot be approved until this has been independently cleared, and the Department of Planning is satisfied that the Rozelle Interchange can be built.”
The only construction company to lodge a bid to build the Rozelle Interchange was rejected by the government itself as too expensive, and investment companies are now demanding more detail of project plans before even considering making a bid.
Independent Inner West councillor Pauline Lockie said the M4-M5 Link was the worst of the three WestConnex stages in terms of planning because the EIS was based on a “concept design” only. “There is no guarantee of what the final project will actually look like,” she said.
Inner West residents have criticised the EIS for treating the public “with contempt” by not providing a final design.
A submission by community action group Rozelle Against WestConnex said: “It prepares the pathway for the sale of the Sydney Motorway Corporation to the private sector, removing from the responsibility, oversight and control of government the final design, cost and implementation of the M4-M5 Link.”
Residents are angry that the WestConnex project will not even fulfil its originally stated intention of providing a direct connection to Sydney Airport and Port Botany; will further worsen traffic on existing bottlenecks such as the Anzac Bridge leading into Sydney’s CBD; and will build unfiltered ventilation stacks near homes and schools.