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

Summary of reasons why Marrickville Council completely opposes Westconnex M4 East

In September 2015 Marrickville Council reaffirmed its “absolute opposition to the WestConnex project”. Its EIS submission to the M4 East is a powerful rejection of the project. Its staff and independent experts evaluated the EIS and concluded:

  • That the EIS does not justify that the significant expenditure on Westconnex would benefit the broader community including public transport users, pedestrians, cyclists and communities generally. The benefits for toll paying motorists indicated in the EIS are also dubious.
  • There has been no real analysis of alternatives to the M4 East and alternatives that are considered are assessed in isolation of integrated solutions.
  • The EIS assumes that all sections of WestConnex (with the possible exception of the Western Harbour Tunnel) are completed by 2031. If all sections are not completed simultaneously the traffic flowing from the M4 East will have adverse impacts on the inner
    west and central Sydney.
  • To properly evaluate the WestConnex project there needs to be an over-arching EIS for the entire project, i.e. Stages 1, 2, 3, the Southern Gateway and The Sydney Gateway; possibly also the Northern and Southern extensions.

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Serious flaws in Social and Economic Impact study

(The People’s EIS has already published a number of individual stories that demonstrate the severe social impact of the proposed project. We have suggested that the GHD Social and Economic Impact study that was prepared in conjunction with AECOM is inadequate. These reports were contained in Appendices M and N and were combined into a single chapter in the main report.)

The reports find major short term impacts would be experienced in Haberfield, Homebush and elsewhere. Here is a summary of the reports.

The consultant recommends mitigation for a number of potential impacts but overall the report fails the convey the seriousness and significance of impacts, some of which are already occurring.

This post presents some additional reasons why the social and economic impact reports are inadequate.

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What do you think about Westconnex Aecom’s EIS Social and Economic Impact report?

The Westconnex project, including the M4 tunnel will have huge impact on Sydney and its citizens. You wouldn’t know this however if you relied on the EIS report. Much of the EIS is complicated technical data that can be hard to understand. By contrast, many will feel able to comment on the Social and Economic impacts report. You might know about one of the many aged care homes or schools in the project area that expressed concern about the project from the start; or you might be interested in how Westconnex evaluates the fear of being forced out of their homes on vulnerable citizens; or how people who have been given only 9 months to sell and find another home are faring? If you don’t find the answers in the EIS summary, don’t be shocked but do let us know how you feel about it. Continue reading