We have just returned from the ‘Save Sydney Park Festival’ organised by the WestConnex Action Group & Reclaim the Streets. We also visited the Camp of residents who have stayed in the park for the past 13 days. It has not been without drama though. At 3am on 20th September, police evicted the camp & the WestConnex Authority came & fenced off the campsite. The Camp moved further up the park & re-pitched their tents. Today a lone security guard sat in the fenced off area protecting the trees from the community for the WestConnex Authority. Taxpayers’ dollars at work. It’s the community which wants to save the trees.
The WestConnex Authority is preparing to chop down hundreds of trees along Campbell Street & Euston Road St Peters. If this wasn’t bad enough, they also intend to encroach 12-metres into Sydney Park itself & remove many mature trees, shrubs & gardens.
The WestConnex Action Group ( http://www.westconnexactiongroup.org.au ) says that, “The State Government is cutting down more than 350 trees & taking 14,000 square metres of Sydney Park to build their dirty toll road.”
The WestConnex Action Group has spent a significant number of people hours tying blue fabric around each tree to be removed. There is blue everywhere you look. Hundreds of decades old trees will be felled. Even worse is the blue fabric around massive trees inside Sydney Park. It is also reasonable to think that any tree within 10-metres of the work zone would also be at risk of dying if their roots extend into the work zone, so perhaps more precious trees will be casualties of this motorway.
Sydney Park may seem like a big park, but we don;t have much green space in the area & to lose any is terrible. Sydney Park is only across the road from the boundary of the old Marrickville Municipality. The old Marrickville municipality has the least green space in Australia. Therefore, Sydney Park is used a lot by this community, plus the community of the City of Sydney municipality & the numerous visitors who travel significant distance to spend time in the park. No wonder. It is a beautiful park that just keeps on improving every year.
So for the WestConnex Authority to take a whopping 14,000 square metres of Sydney Park in an area with very little green space is a huge loss.
Campbell Street & Euston Road St Peters will be widened into 6 lanes taking traffic from the St Peters Interchange (colloquially known as the Spaghetti Junction) to Alexandria, Mascot & Newtown then into surrounding roads originally built for horses with carts. The traffic bottle necks are going to be very frustrating to drivers & for the local community who are going to be hit with far more traffic than they have ever experienced, plus associated air pollution & health issues from the pollution.
The St Peters Interchange itself is massive & one wonders why it needs to be so large. Looking at the plans it looks to be three-quarters the size of Sydney Park.
An article published three days ago in the Telegraph, (which I am unable to access again to give you the link) said that 85,000 square metres of new parkland will be created under & around the St Peters Interchange. The new parkland will come with two ventilation stacks. The first public space is due to be opened in 2019 & the second in 2023.
Now I don’t know about you, but we will be very unlikely to choose to spend our time outdoors under a freeway spaghetti junction with particulate matter dropping down on us from the vehicles traveling above & pollution from the two ventilation stacks. It won’t matter how green the grass is.
It seems that the WestConnex Authority has carte blanche to seize public green space for this motorway. Just a couple of weeks ago they levelled 1.4 hectares of critically endangered REMNANT Cooks River Castlereagh Ironbark forest in Wolli Creek for a TEMPORARY car park. Unbelievable! See – http://bit.ly/2cpNw1i This action is a big fat “we just don’t care about the environment” by the WestConnex Authority, aka the NSW government.
The WestConnex Authority tried it on for historic Ashfield Park wanting to destroy heritage trees & take away community green space, again for a car park. See – http://bit.ly/2dkCivB Thankfully the community won & Ashfield Park was saved. Hopefully Sydney Park can also be saved.
My question to the NSW Government is – why do you choose to rob the Inner West community of green space? Why not purchase the industrial buildings across the road from Sydney Park to provide the space needed to widen the road? They certainly did not hesitate to force people out of their homes, so why not the same equity for industrial properties? Or why not build better public transport?
We looked around, spoke to numerous people & heard the anger, dismay & the concern for the park, the trees & the wildlife. Then we cycled around for a good look at what is proposed to be lost to road. Of concern is the wildlife – the Bell frogs, the Tawny frogmouths & number other birds & all the other creatures that live in the trees to be removed. The area subsumed comes mighty close to the bottom pond, which is also of concern. Hopefully my photos will show what is to be lost more effectively than my words.