Residents rally to 'Save Ashfield Park'

Issue 
The WestConnex road development will affect many local sporting clubs and community groups. Photo: Kathy Fairfax

Several hundred residents and supporters rallied in Ashfield Park, in Sydney’s inner west, on February 9 to protest against the WestConnex road development.

Rally organisers said: "WestConnex intends to widen Parramatta Road in order to create an entrance to the planned westbound tunnel under Parramatta Road. We stand to lose a 10-20 metre stretch of Ashfield Park.

"Ashfield Park may be used as a depot for trucks and heavy machinery for up to seven years. Now is the time to protest."

The planned WestConnex motorway is a 33-kilometres toll road that will pass through communities in inner-west Sydney, including Ashfield, Strathfield, Concord, Petersham, Summer Hill, St Peters and Tempe. Compulsory property acquisitions for WestConnex have already started and there are more to come.

At the Ashfield rally, Greens MLA Jamie Parker said WestConnex was "the country's biggest infrastructure project — a $15 billion traffic jam."

Campaign organiser Amanda Bale said WestConnex was an example of "old fossils with old fossil fuel solutions. We need people power, all over the suburbs, if we are going to win."

The WestConnex Community Action Group said: "WestConnex will demolish at least 100 homes and businesses and large areas of parks and reserves in Ashfield. The current WestConnex concept plan will severely damage heritage, homes, and parks and seriously impact the air quality across the Ashfield Municipality and adjoining council areas.

"The WestConnex scheme won't solve the traffic nightmare on the M4 motorway. It will move traffic congestion onto the City West Link and further down Parramatta Road into Leichhardt and nearby suburbs.

"We want cost effective transport solutions for the Inner West and Greater Sydney that do not destroy and pollute our communities and heritage."

Motions carried unanimously at the rally included calls for: "Sustainable, effective transport and freight solutions for the Sydney Region; and State and federal investment in public transport, not a private tollway."

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