The administrator of the merged Inner West Council has launched an unprecedented attack on WestConnex, accusing the controversial $17 billion project of running “inaccurate, confusing and misleading” consultation meetings with the local community.
Administrator Richard Pearson, who was chosen by the NSW government to lead the area following former premier Mike Baird forced amalgamations last years, says the plans released by current premier Gladys Berejiklian just a fortnight ago for public comment offer limited “Clayton’s consultation” for inner west residents.
The third and final stage of the project connects the M4 and M5 tollways via 9-kilometre tunnel between Haberfield and St Peters, which also surfaces at Rozelle, in an already heavily congested area near the disused White Bay power station, feeding into the Anzac Bridge and City Westlink.
With consultation currently underway, Pearson says the feedback opportunities are “incredibly narrow”.
“Just eight aspects of the Concept Design are open for comment – and these include the architectural design of the ventilation stacks and the entry and exit points,” he said. “I know our local residents will have a lot more to say about these than what they look like.”
Most local residents are concerned that the government-owned corporation will not be filtering the exhaust stacks.
The Inner West Council under Pearson has raised a number of objections to WestConnex proposals over the past year.
Last month, the government was forced to rule out a proposal to build a “dive site” for the project just 36-metres from a Leichhardt high school.
The Council also has concerns over the “deliberately vague on construction details” of the Concept Design.
“How can the community properly comment on a design that raises more questions than answers?” Pearson said.
Council also accused those preparing the design of “deliberate omissions of adverse features, the locations of schools and aged care facilities, and traffic impacts”.
Pearson said finding how to comment on the WestConnex website “is very difficult”.
“And when you do find it, it is a 6 megabyte download,” he said.
Stuart Ayres said the community information sessions provide an opportunity for members of community to speak face-to-face with thr project team, make enquiries and provide feedback.
“Feedback can also be provided in writing, online via our Collaborative Map over a 12 week period or in person at our community information sessions,” he said.
“We are committed to keeping people informed and will continue to provide regular information through mail and email notifications, community updates, advertising, meetings and feedback sessions.”
The council administrator said it there are also concerns that the preparation of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the project will be completed even before the feedback process, designed to be part of the EIS, is finished.
Thr minister told Business Insider the claim was untrue.
Sydney Motorway Corporation is holding a series of community information sessions over the coming week. Most are being held on weekdays between 4pm and 7pm.
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