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We had a look at Campbell & Euston Roads around Sydney Park yesterday. Even though I expected this having seen the beginning of the demolition, actually looking at the carnage was difficult. I cannot believe the size of the spaghetti junction (officially known as the St Peters Interchange). It is mammoth.
I found it sad to look at mounds of earth where once were people’s homes & where a significant band of very tall trees once stood.
I am really interested to see if the artist’s impression of the green & leafy St Peters Interchange will actually look like it is depicted 10-years post completion. In the image trees soar above the elevated roadway. It looks almost utopian.
The Sydney Park side of Campbell Street has yet to undergo tree clearing. To see all those beautiful mature trees that will be chopped down & mulched is sobering. I hope we do not end up with yet another main road devoid of street trees.
The Euston Road side of Sydney Park is a mass of dirt. What was once thick trees in the park is now waiting to become bitumen. I don’t know whether this was true for all hours of the day, but whenever I have gone there, this road has always been sleepy. Yes, there was traffic, but not much of it. That will change once it becomes part of the motorway, but I do wonder where the traffic will go once it gets here.
While we were looking through the cyclone fencing at the old Dial a Dump site, a security man drove up & parked a couple of metres from where we were standing & watched us. I found this action surprising as we were on a public road outside a gate in broad daylight, dressed in normal clothes, making no movement to enter the property & carrying nothing more than a camera. He was parked further down Campbell Street, but chose to come real close. It was somewhat threatening.
Lastly, the Stop WestConnex community must be feeling vindicated when the news this week released that the $16.8 billion price tag for WestConnex motorway is projected to blossom to almost $29 billion more than expected, at least this is what analysis by the City of Sydney Council suggests.
“The analysis, which is disputed by the state government, argues WestConnex and its connecting roads combined will cost more than $45 billion, after the extra roads are added to the project’s $16.8 billion public price tag.”
Lord Mayor of Sydney Clover Moore said, “Just one exit from WestConnex in St Peters, for example, will require more than $1 billion of publicly funded road upgrades to manage the extra 30,000 cars that will pour into the area daily.” See- http://bit.ly/2of6rjw
Every entrance & exit from WestConnex will require road work.
I read an interesting article in The Guardian yesterday titled, ‘The car is ingrained into people here’: West Midlands faces air pollution crisis.’ See – http://bit.ly/2oY2Fv7
The West Midlands is a region in England identified as an area of high air pollution air due to motorways & other high traffic roads. The United Kingdom has ten pollution hotspots & five of them are within the West Midlands region.
“The government’s own figures show air pollution [in this area] is responsible for almost 3,000 deaths a year ……”
This grabbed my attention. 3,000 deaths a year from something preventable is astounding. What a powerful advertisement for public transport!
In June 2010, I posted about research on how living within a 500-metre radius of a major thoroughfare was likely to cause major health issues & early death. See – http://bit.ly/1MKStR8 I found it interesting to see that the distance from a main road in this UK study had dropped to only 150-metres. In reality the situation would be much worse had they included the other 350-metres.
The Guardian article said thousands of British children are being exposed to illegal levels of air pollution due to schools & nurseries located within this 150-metre zone. The article also said that none of the staff or parents of the ten worst affected nurseries in Birmingham were aware that this was a significant health issue for the children & employees.
Looking further, a whopping 2,091 places of learning for children from preschool to further education centres across England & Wales are within 150-metres of a high-traffic high-pollution road. This is not a great start in life for these children.
Birmingham Council said it “was a challenge to change people’s attitudes to driving in a city that “grew up on the car industry”. According to the council’s own figures 900 people die from poor air quality in the city each year, compared to 30 from road accidents.”
Birmingham Council is improving the cycle routes saying, “there are 200,000 journeys of under a mile in this city each day – it is about removing some of those trips.” Inner West & City of Sydney Councils are doing similar with cycleways being added to allow people to ride safely on the street.
This is a great start, but the WestConnex Motorway cleaving its way through our municipality is of great concern for the future health of our community. We are already burdened with a large number of high traffic roads through high density housing.
That the WestConnex Authority plans to install unfiltered stacks to release the air pollution from the tunnels has always concerned me. I don’t know how much it would cost to have the air filtered to trap particulate matter & other air pollutants, but I do know that the future health costs of the community around these unfiltered stacks will be considerable. Unless we go down in vast numbers, the health issues will be ignored & subsumed into the usual statistics. Personally, I think the government is playing risk games with the future health of the community.
Also interesting is the image in the article of the spaghetti junction near Birmingham. It reminded me of the spin we are being given about our own impeding spaghetti junction at the massive Dial a Dump site at St Peters.
The WestConnex Authority says the area underneath the St Peters Interchange will become a tree-filled park with cycleways & walking paths. It will be presented to the community as new green space in place of the large track of land & hundreds of mature trees taken from Sydney Park recently to widen the road for WestConnex Motorway.
This is an incredibly poor exchange – take from a beautiful & very much loved park & give back a spaghetti junction with hundreds of thousands of vehicles traveling above & spewing their pollution down on the new green space.
For the life of me I cannot imagine wanting to spend free time under a motorway with particulate matter raining down on me no matter how attractive it looks. However, what cannot be seen will likely entice some people to think it is nice & safe to play there & I bet barbeques will be added to lure people in.
To cope with a climate change future & to cope with the air pollution from increased traffic in our densely built municipality, we need more trees. We need trees & shrubs in gardens & more street trees. The street trees species need to be able to reach a height above 5-metres & have broader canopies. Big trees need to be planted in spaces where Energy Australia has no excuse to start pruning them because we can see that their pruning has reduced so many of our street trees into mangled messes or to a shadow of their former selves.
If we do not make a significant change in the streetscapes & gardens of our municipality, we will pay the price of increasing poor health in our children & ourselves & perhaps an early death.
We also need to ditch the car & walk, cycle & take more public transport whenever we can. It will take a shift in our thinking & motivation, but we can do it. I think one day we will be forced to.
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.
I read this wonderful article titled, ‘Our trees are wiser than our leaders,’ written by Elizabeth Farrelly in the Sydney Morning Herald. See – http://bit.ly/2cXGvpV
Ms Farrelly writes about the Tawny frogmouths who are losing their home, a Swamp mahogany on Euston Road Alexandria because all the trees along here are to be chopped down for the WestConnex Motorway. Her article is more than about the birds. I highly recommend reading it.
“WestConnex is not just a war on birds, or on trees, public space, climate or the inner city, although it is all of those things. It’s a war on the kind of world view that values connectivity over objects: a war on complexity, in particular those complex systems we call community and nature. This is why it seems so blindingly old fashioned; a crude 1950s response to our complex 21st-century transport needs. It is also ultra-masculinist. “Men see objects,” wrote John Fowles in The Magus. “Women see the relationship between objects … War is a psychosis caused by an inability to see relationships.”
“It’s happening everywhere. For Sydney the smell of woodchips has become the smell of death.
In Frenchs Forest, hundreds of towering eucalypts have been felled for the six-lane highway to the new Northern Beaches Hospital.
In Randwick and Moore Park, 10 hectares of tree canopy are to be destroyed for temporary light-rail traffic diversions – including the Habitat Tree and the Tree of Knowledge, already gone.
In Wolli Creek, endangered forest was recently clear-felled for a temporary construction carpark.
Across Summer Hill and Haberfield – already reeling from WestConnex demolitions – entire avenues of gracious street trees have been reduced to deformed and leafless stumps after the government relaxed regulations governing Ausgrid’s “pruning” under power lines.
And that’s without the Regional Forest Agreements that allow unscrutinised cutting in NSW forests and the Baird government’s cynical Biodiversity Conservation Bill, expected to dramatically increase land-clearing and decrease protections across the state.”
Sydney is changing. Sadly, our trees are being hit hard & this will have a domino effect down through the wildlife, to the happiness & health of the community.
Good news for historic Petersham Park today after the government announced a new route for the WestConnex Motorway. Instead of taking some of Petersham Park (see – http://bit.ly/1zYWHK4), the motorway will now travel through a tunnel from Haberfield, duplicating the City West Link & connecting to the Anzac Bridge & Victoria Road at Rozelle. Another tunnel from Rozelle will exit at St Peters.
Minister for Roads & Freight Duncan Gay said, “…the motorway would not impact on Petersham Park, & the new route would take the tunnels further from the historic park.”
This is one bit of good news about a motorway that will severely impact on the community of Marrickville municipality. More information when it comes to light. See – http://bit.ly/1tDcUiL
If trying to remove a chunk of historic Ashfield Park was not enough, now the WestConnex Authority is after a chunk of historic Petersham Park.
This park is famous because Sir Donald Bradman had his first appearance in grade level cricket in Petersham Oval that is in the park in 1926 when he was just 18-years-old. This local sporting history is one that many people refer to with pride. The Fanny Durack Aquatic Centre located in Petersham Park has recently been upgraded.
Petersham Park also has many significant & veteran trees, plus stands, gate & pagoda that many would consider heritage & worthy of protection.
Even though a short distance from Parramatta Road, this area of Petersham/Lewisham is a lovely green oasis of mostly Federation houses & leafy tree-lined streets.
From the ‘Save Petersham Park’ Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/savepetershampark/timeline
“We are concerned residents of Petersham. On 23 November 2014, the NSW State Government, Urbangrowth, released a proposed plan for Parramatta Rd, to build a tunnel underneath it, called westconnex. They propose an entry/exit from the tunnel at Petersham Park. (A similar entry/exit proposed at St Peters will cover all of Tempe tip and also take 80 houses around that area. It is not just a couple of ramps). Urbangrowth also proposes 10 storey highrises on all of Station St, and 24 storey highrises behind the old Lewisham Hospital. See page 31 of the draft strategy document under “new parramatta rd” on the website “www.urbangrowthnsw.com.au.“ There is also word unofficially of an unfiltered emissions stack at Fort St High School. Where there is a tunnel exit there has to be an emission stack.”
It is not surprising news, but frankly, it is appalling. Same for the 10 & 24 storey high-rise apartments & the unfiltered stack planned for this area.
I tried to open the UrbanGrowth website, but was greeted with the following – “This site is currently undergoing scheduled maintenance and will be back online shortly. Please check back soon.” Hopefully it will be back online quickly as I imagine there will be many local residents who are very interested to read this document.
Thankfully Marrickville Council & Mayor Gardiner have been forthright in their opposition to WestConnex Motorway, so hopefully they will have more to say against the stripping of public green space in the municipality that is famous for having the least green space of any municipality in Australia. We should not be losing precious green space to roads, tunnels or smoke stacks.
As for the 24-storey high-rise apartment blocks….. this will be a boon for developers. High-rise development has not been allocated for this area as per the recently completed Local Environment Plan (LEP) that cost ratepayers $2 million. Development is not bad & I am not against it, as long as it sticks to the heavily consulted Marrickville Local Environment Plan. Anything outside the LEP will destroy the area as far as I am concerned.
You may also want to become friends with Save Petersham Park on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/savepetershampark/timeline & also The WestConnex Action Group Inner West – another resident group in Marrickville LGA, also on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/westconnexactiongroup
There is also the ‘No WestConnex Rockdale Group’ on Facebook, who are opposing the Motorway going through the Landing Lights Wetland, a very important habitat & home to many species of migratory birds. This group of residents are also campaigning against the ‘Tempe to President Avenue feeder road,’ which will funnel tens of thousands extra vehicles every day on to the already busy local roads in Rockdale & Kogarah.
The community will be far more powerful & influential if we all gather together & support each other’s peaceful campaigns rather than separate into little areas only looking after our territory. WestConnex will have a phenomenal impact on Marrickville LGA. I find it very interesting that the government would prefer to remove a chunk of an historic park than purchase private property along Parramatta Road.
The biggest news to hit Marrickville municipality happened two days ago when the St Peters Interchange for the WestConnex Motorway was announced. Prime Minister Abbott arrived to do streetside TV media saying how wonderful the Interchange would be, especially to the residents of Western Sydney.
The St Peters Interchange requires the forced acquisition of 80 houses, utterly devastating to all those families who found out that they were to lose their home only after WestConnex representatives knocked on their door to give them ‘Acquisition Packs.’ Those who were at work came home to find these in their mailbox.
The following are some points regarding the St Peters Interchange from the WestConnex website –
- “The 16 hectare industrial site at St Peters as a key interchange…” This is Dial a Dump, made famous because it was to be the site for coal seam gas mining exploration drilling, until massive community opposition put a stop to this.
- They have acknowledged the failure of the M5 East – “…lodging the planning application for higher, wider, flatter & future-proofed tunnels to end the daily battle on the M5 East. The new tunnels will more than double capacity of the M5 East, with the New M5 tunnels built to accommodate three lanes in each direction …. The current M5 East was arguably Sydney’s worst tunnel project with design flaws that have created frustration for the 100,000 motorists who use the corridor every day.” It was only opened in 2001.
- “The St Peters Interchange will provide access to key roads in the area, such as Euston Road & Campbell Street & the project will include widening these roads as well as a new bridge over Alexandra Canal to Bourke Road.” I understand that part of Simpson Park will be lost. This is not good for our municipality, which already has the dubious fame of having the least green space in Australia.
You can read the full information here – http://bit.ly/1tCIuQJ
The following is a Press Release from Marrickville Mayor Gardiner who does not mince words, expressing Marrickville Council’s outrage over the plans. Click to enlarge.
Yesterday afternoon we joined around 300 other people at the Save Ashfield Park rally organized by the Save Ashfield Park residents group.
There were speakers from the community & local members Charles Casuscelli (Liberal) & Jamie Parker (Greens), Mathew Hounsell President of NoW (NoWestconnex) Public Transport, Robert Borsak Member of the Upper House & Shooters Party, Lucille McKenna Mayor of Ashfield Council & Jo Alley of Save Ashfield Park group.
Mature trees in this heritage-registered park that will be chopped down had yellow ribbons tied around their trunks & the area of the park that will be claimed by the motorway was marked out. Four percent of the park will be lost. I counted 38 trees that will need to be removed. There is also serious concern & a lot of conflicting messages that the park will be used as a depot for anywhere from six to seven years.
Other issues that trouble residents are traffic volumes, loss of people’s homes, pollution, multiple 12-storey towers for housing & unfiltered smoke stacks through the suburbs along the route.
The deadline for submissions regarding this section of WestConnex is 17th February 2014. http://www.westconnex.com.au
You can watch an edited version of the speeches here – http://bit.ly/1iDRcsm