WestConnex road widening met with protests

April 28, 2017

Dozens of residents and supporters protested on April 26 and 27 in Euston Road, Alexandria, against the destruction of more than 70 trees as part of road widening works for the controversial WestConnex St Peters Interchange.

The destruction is part of work to widen Euston Road from four lanes to seven. The plan would bring about 70,000 cars and trucks a day to within 180cm of more than 90 apartments and townhouses.

"We've been insulted, not consulted, every step of the way," said Euston Road resident Carmel Delprat. "There are fatal accidents just waiting to happen if [NSW Premier] Gladys Berejiklian builds this road just 180cm from people's front doors and children's bedrooms. It is not a matter of if, but when.

"Residents have made formal submissions, and we've called and written to ministers and the authorities to ask them to halt these works. But they've continued to ignore our valid concerns. And now they're planning to destroy our trees in their haste to widen this road.

"That's why we're holding this protest to call on Premier Berejiklian and the Minister for WestConnex Stuart Ayres to halt these works, stop this destruction, and meet with us."

NSW Labor shadow minister for roads Jodi McKay, the Australian Greens, and Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore have all called for a halt to WestConnex works on Euston Road.

Meanwhile, with a recent analysis by the Sydney City Council revealing that the total cost of WestConnex plus all the necessary road connections and extensions would be around $45 billion, the Nature Conservation Council (NCC) has estimated that electricity for the whole of NSW could be supplied from 100% renewable sources for about the same level of investment.

"With strong leadership and a clear strategy for public and private investment of about $46.5 billion, NSW could cut itself free from polluting electricity sources by 2030," NCC CEO Kate Smolski said on April 19.

"That includes $31 billion for new wind and solar projects and $15.5 billion for pumped hydro and new transmission lines linking those new projects to the grid, shepherding in a wave of new energy jobs. That's about the same investment that governments and the private sector are making in the controversial WestConnex network of roads and tunnels.

"Unlike WestConnex however, a 100% renewables grid would make communities and the environment cleaner, healthier and more sustainable. That's an investment we think is well worth making."

In another startling revelation about WestConnex, residents living in the path of the M5 WestConnex tunnel have had the land seized from beneath their feet. Almost 150 residents in St Peters and Sydenham have received letters from the state government since January, informing them that the "sub-surface property" below their homes will be compulsorily acquired without compensation, the April 26 Inner West Courier reported.

A further 436 acquisitions in Sydney's inner west have been made, with families displaced, buildings demolished and residents receiving inadequate compensation. In the latest cases, the acquisitions only apply to sub-surface land where the twin M5 tunnels pass directly below homes.

And clauses in the Land Acquisition Act mean affected homeowners are not entitled to compensation. Tunnelling on the 9 kilometre twin tunnels from St Peters to Beverly Hills began last December, with work continuing 24 hours a day.

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