WestConnex recently released its plans for the Glebe/Forest Lodge sections of the WestConnex project. These involve road tunnels running beneath our suburb, with spaghetti junction interchanges centered around the Rozelle goods yards and on Parramatta Road in Camperdown. Public meetings were held in Rozelle on 30 April and in Balmain on 19 May to inform residents of the inner west about WestConnex and to provide a forum for opposition to the project. Hundreds attended both meetings and were loud in their opposition to WestConnex.
The consistent themes of opposition were that the project is an outdated and wasteful approach to solving Sydney’s traffic problems, it is highly destructive of local communities, the $16.8 billion price tag would be far better spent on public transport and WestConnex is riding roughshod over residents’ concerns in the inner west. Many of those who attended the meetings had already had their properties resumed by WestConnex or where concerned that they would suffer a similar fate given the proposed location of the toll road and the road interchanges.
While WestConnex is a State Government project, the Federal Government has committed $3.5 billion to it. The project has thus become an issue in the forthcoming Federal Election, although both the major parties say they are committed to WestConnex. The Commonwealth Auditor-General has recently undertaken to investigate the commitment of federal funds.
An estimated 6,000 people attended a rally at the Sydney Town Hall on Sunday 29 May, followed by a march to the NSW Parliament, protesting a series of initiatives of the State Government, including WestConnex, the forced amalgamations of local councils and the sacking of the councils.
The Coalition of Glebe Groups is now working with the Greens’ Jamie Parker to arrange a public meeting in Glebe to inform residents about the impact of WestConnex on Glebe/Forest Lodge. Details will be circulated shortly.