Citizen’s complaint to Minister for Planning Rob Stokes about failures in Westconnex planning process

Introduction

The People’s M4 EIS website has been quiet since submissions closed. 17 submissions were received from Government agencies and Local Councils. Approximately 4800 community groups and individuals also made submissions.

Normally ‘submitters’ as they are known are sent notification letters with a number that they can then look up in the Response to submissions report to see how ‘the proponent’, in this case Westconnex, has responded to their submission.

On this occasion, the Response to submissions report explicitly stated that letters had been sent – in fact, as far as People’s M4 East EIS is aware, these letters were never sent.  One of the People’s M4 EIS editors  has made a detailed complaint to the Department secretary Carolyn McNally which she has posted on her blog.

Today, we publish a second complaint from a resident John Hyde who lives near the M4 East project in Ashfield. If you have any questions for John or want advice on sending your own letter, post your comment at the bottom of this post. Continue reading

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Department of Planning publishes M4EIS submissions –

Today, the NSW Department of Planning and Environment published the submissions for the WestCONnex M4 East.

Normally the Department publishes the name of the person who has sent in the submission with an accompanying PDF. Here’s an example from the Northconnex.

If you took a quick look at the Planning Department’s M4 East page, you could mistakenly think there were only 60 public submissions. In fact there are 4877 public submissions dumped into 60 unlabelled PDFS. The vast majority of submissions ‘object’ to to the project. Even those who only ‘comment’ rather than ‘object’ are mostly very critical of the M4 East proposal.

Unless a member of the public trawls through all submissions, he or she won’t easily find their own submission or submissions from the National Trust, the Westconnex Action Group, the No Westconnex Public Transport group and other detailed submissions from groups and experts. If the department is not equipped to deal with thousands of submission, why can’t it slow down the planning process? It is quite unfair for the documentation of public feedback for one planning application to be treated less transparently that others.

The Department’s approach to the publication of public submissions demonstrates their arrogance towards the community and how the planning process is biased and corrupted in favour of the proponent – RMS and Sydney Motorway Corporation.  It’s the same overall undemocratic approach which leads the government to grant construction contracts before the project is approved or a business case is made public.

The Department has claimed in writing that it will rigorously assess all submissions. Do they wonder why the community is cynical about their claims?

The People’s EIS will be going through the submissions and publishing some of them.

In future updates, we’ll report on the 17 Submissions from Agencies and Government Departments. There are hundreds of criticisms of the project in these submissions.

Update: The People’s EIS has complained about the way in which the public submissions have been published on the Department of Planning website. Senior Planner Brent Devine who is managing the process said it was because it had to be done as quickly as possible which simply confirms that the planning process is being rushed to suit the WestCONnex. He is going to look into whether an index with names and suburbs of submitters can be published. We expect to hear back in a day or two.

 

Your guide to the M4 East EIS documentation

The M4 East EIS is divided Volumes 1 and 2.

Volume 1 is the executive summary.

Volume2 contain all of the many appendices that contain all the details. The appendices are distributed through Volumes 2A through 2H.

Volume 1A

1 Introduction
2 Assessment process
3 Strategic context and project need
4 Project development and alternatives
5 Project description
6 Construction work
7 Consultation
8 Traffic and transport
9 Air quality
10 Noise and vibration
11 Human health

Volume 1B

12 Property and land use
13 Urban design and visual amenity
14 Social and economic
15 Soil and water quality
16 Contamination
17 Flooding and drainage
18 Groundwater
19 Non-Aboriginal heritage
20 Biodiversity
21 Greenhouse gas
22 Aboriginal heritage
23 Resource use and waste minimisation
24 Climate change risk and adaptation
25 Hazards and risk
26 Cumulative impacts
27 Sustainability
28 Environmental risk analysis
29 Summary of environmental management measures
30 Project justification and conclusion

Volume 2A

Appendix A – Secretary’s environmental assessment requirements
Appendix B – Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 (NSW) checklist
Appendix C – concept design drawings
Appendix D – Properties affected by acquisition
Appendix E – Government agency submissions
Appendix F – Community consultation framework
Appendix G – Traffic and transport assessment

Volume 2B

Appendix H – Air quality impact assessment

Volume 2C

Appendix I – Noise and vibration impact assessment

Volume 2D

Appendix J – Human health risk assessment
Appendix K – Shadow diagrams
Appendix L – Urban design, landscape character and visual impact assessment

Volume 2E

Appendix M – Social impact assessment
Appendix N – Economic impact assessment
Appendix O – Soil and water assessment

Volume 2F

Appendix P – Soil and land contamination assessment

Volume 2G

Appendix Q – Surface water: flooding and drainage
Appendix R – Groundwater impact assessment

Volume 2H

Appendix S – Non aboriginal heritage impact assessment
Appendix T – Biodiversity impact assessment
Appendix U – Detailed greenhouse gas calculations
Appendix V – Aboriginal heritage assessment
Appendix W – Climate change risk assessment framework

Main Volume 1A Part 1

Main Volume 1A Part 1 (pdf)

Contents Pages
Executive summary
Certification
Glossary and abbreviations
1 Introduction 1-1
1.1 Project overview 1-1
1.2 Project location 1-4
1.3 Project features 1-4
1.4 Benefits of the project 1-7
1.5 Purpose of this environmental impact statement 1-8
1.6 Structure of this environmental impact statement 1-8
1.7 Directions used in this environmental impact statement 1-9
2 Assessment process 2-1
2.1 Approval framework 2-1
2.1.1 Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 2-1
2.1.2 Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 2-1
2.2 Environmental planning instruments 2-3
2.2.1 State environmental planning policies 2-3
2.2.2 Local environmental plans 2-3
2.3 Other legislation 2-4
2.3.1 NSW legislation 2-4
2.3.2 Commonwealth legislation 2-5
3 Strategic context and project need 3-1
3.1 Strategic planning and policy framework 3-1
3.1.1 NSW 2021: A Plan to Make NSW Number One 3-1
3.1.2 State Infrastructure Strategy 3-2
3.1.3 NSW Long Term Transport Master Plan 3-3
3.1.4 Mode specific transport strategies 3-4
3.1.5 A Plan for Growing Sydney 3-6
3.1.6 NSW Freight and Ports Strategy 3-8
3.1.7 Parramatta Road Urban Transformation Program 3-8
3.1.8 WestConnex Business Case 3-9
3.1.9 Our Cities Our Future – A National Urban Policy 3-10
3.1.10 Alignment with other national strategic planning documents 3-11
3.2 Why the project is needed 3-11
3.2.1 Regional context 3-11
3.2.2 Existing road network conditions 3-12
3.2.3 Job creation in Western Sydney 3-13
3.2.4 Freight, commercial and business services 3-14
3.2.5 Parramatta Road urban renewal 3-15
3.2.6 Transport improvements in the Parramatta Road corridor 3-15
3.3 Project objectives 3-16
3.4 Summary 3-17
4 Project development and alternatives 4-1
4.1 History of the M4 East and WestConnex 4-1
4.1.2 M5 East Motorway 4-3
4.1.3 Connection between the M4 and M5 East 4-3
4.1.4 WestConnex and M4 East 4-3
4.2 Strategic alternatives 4-4
4.2.1 Alternative 1 – Base case or ‘do nothing/do minimum’ 4-5
4.2.2 Alternative 2 – Improvements to the existing arterial road network 4-5
4.2.3 Alternative 3 – Investment in public transport and rail freight improvements 4-7
4.2.4 Alternative 4 – Demand management 4-10
4.2.5 Alternative 5 – Extension of the M4 as part of the WestConnex scheme 4-10
4.2.6 Preferred strategic alternative 4-11
4.3 Motorway options 4-12
4.3.1 Earlier options development 4-12
4.3.2 Tunnel corridor options 4-15
4.3.3 Number of lanes within tunnels 4-15
4.3.4 Preferred motorway option 4-16
4.4 Interchange options 4-16
4.4.1 Western tunnel portals 4-16
4.4.2 M4 westbound access options 4-19
4.4.3 Concord interchange 4-20
4.4.4 Wattle Street (City West Link) interchange 4-23
4.4.5 Parramatta Road interchange 4-25
4.5 Design development of ancillary facilities 4-27
4.5.1 Ventilation system design 4-27
4.5.2 Ventilation facility locations 4-29
4.5.3 Emergency smoke exhaust facility 4-31
4.5.4 Fresh air supply facility 4-31
4.5.5 Motorway control centre 4-32
4.6 Construction methodology development 4-33
4.6.1 Tunnel construction methods 4-33
4.6.2 Spoil disposal 4-34
5 Project description 5-1
5.1 The project 5-2
5.2 Design criteria 5-5
5.2.1 Design standards 5-5
5.2.2 Urban design principles and objectives 5-5
5.2.3 Landscape framework 5-6
5.3 Project footprint 5-6
5.4 Tunnels (continues in part 2) 5-7

Main Volume 1A Part 2

Main Volume 1A Part 2 (pdf)

Contents Pages
5.4 Tunnels (continued from part 1) 5-14
5.5 Road treatments at intersections and interchanges 5-20
5.5.1 Homebush Bay Drive interchange 5-20
5.5.2 Powells Creek M4 on-ramp 5-22
5.5.3 Concord Road interchange 5-22
5.5.4 Wattle Street (City West Link) interchange 5-25
5.5.5 Parramatta Road interchange 5-29
5.6 Ventilation system 5-31
5.6.1 Overview 5-31
5.6.2 Ventilation facilities 5-31
5.6.3 Operating modes 5-35
5.7 Other ancillary facilities 5-36
5.7.1 Motorway operations complex 5-36
5.7.2 Incident response centre 5-38
5.7.3 Emergency and incident management facilities 5-38
5.8 Other project elements 5-40
5.8.1 Bridges 5-40
5.8.2 Cuttings and embankments 5-43
5.8.3 Drainage and operational water quality 5-43
5.8.4 Lighting, roadside furniture and signage 5-45
5.8.5 Tolling gantries, communication and control systems 5-46
5.8.6 Noise barriers and low noise pavement 5-46
5.8.7 Provision for smart motorway infrastructure 5-51
5.9 Surface road network changes 5-51
5.9.1 Changes to the existing road network 5-51
5.9.2 Pedestrian and cyclist facilities 5-52
5.9.3 Public transport (continues in part 3) 5-53

Main Volume 1A Part 3

Main Volume 1A Part 3 (pdf)

Contents Pages
5.9.3 Public transport (continued from part 2) 5-54
5.10 Utility services 5-55
5.10.1 Electricity 5-55
5.10.2 Water 5-56
5.11 Property access and acquisition 5-57
6 Construction work 6-1
6.1 Construction strategy 6-2
6.2 Construction program 6-2
6.3 Construction footprint 6-3
6.4 Construction methodology 6-12
6.4.1 Enabling works 6-13
6.4.2 Tunnelling 6-13
6.4.3 Surface earthworks and structures 6-14
6.4.4 Bridge works 6-15
6.4.5 Drainage 6-16
6.4.6 Pavement 6-17
6.4.7 Operational ancillary facilities 6-17

Main Volume 1A Part 4

Main Volume 1A Part 4 (pdf)

Contents Pages
6.5 Construction ancillary facilities 6-19
6.5.1 Overview 6-19
6.5.2 Homebush Bay Drive civil site (C1) 6-21
6.5.3 Pomeroy Street civil site (C2) 6-22
6.5.4 Underwood Road civil and tunnel site (C3) 6-25
6.5.5 Powells Creek civil site (C4) 6-27
6.5.6 Concord Road civil and tunnel site (C5) 6-29
6.5.7 Cintra Park tunnel site (C6) 6-31
6.5.8 Northcote Street tunnel site (C7) 6-34
6.5.9 Eastern ventilation facility site (C8) 6-36
6.5.10 Wattle Street and Walker Avenue civil site (C9) 6-38
6.5.11 Parramatta Road civil site (C10) 6-40
6.6 Traffic management and access 6-42
6.6.1 Changes to local roads 6-42
6.6.2 Changes to pedestrian and cycle routes 6-44
6.6.3 Changes to bus stops 6-47
6.6.4 Access routes and vehicle numbers 6-47
6.6.5 Construction workforce parking 6-48
6.7 Construction workforce numbers and work hours 6-50
6.7.1 Construction workforce 6-50
6.7.2 Construction work hours 6-51
6.8 Plant and equipment 6-53
6.9 Spoil and waste management 6-55
6.9.1 Spoil and waste generation 6-55
6.9.2 Spoil disposal hierarchy 6-56
6.9.3 Spoil reuse and disposal sites 6-56
6.9.4 Spoil haulage routes 6-57
6.9.5 Spoil management strategy 6-62
6.10 Construction resource use 6-63
6.10.1 Construction materials 6-63
6.10.2 Construction energy use 6-63
6.10.3 Construction water use and management 6-64