Friday, April 26, 2024

No tunnel vision for Inner West mayor

Inner West Mayor, Rochelle Porteous, has told a Parliamentary Committee today that the Western Harbour Tunnel could have a catastrophic impact on Dawn Fraser Baths and that the tunnel project should not proceed.

“There has been a lot of media in recent days about the much loved Dawn Fraser Baths in Balmain, but what has gone largely under the radar is that the Western Harbour Tunnel could make the baths unusable,” Mayor Porteous said.

The Mayor presented to the Parliamentary Inquiry on the Impact of the Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link today.

“The Western Harbour Tunnel construction plans include dredging contaminated sediment from the harbour floor. Toxic plume from this sediment will most likely escape into the harbour where it will impact on dog walkers, fishers and swimmers, including users of Dawn Fraser Baths,” she said.

“Consultation and process for this project has been poor. For example, despite the catastrophic impact the Western Harbour Tunnel could have on the baths, this was not even included in the Reference Study and the Environment Impact Statement.

“And we simply do not agree with some of the key findings from the Environmental Impact Statement. The benefits of the project are exaggerated and the negative impacts downplayed.”

The Mayor told the Committee that there were three exhaust stacks linked to WestConnex and the Western Harbour Tunnel and none would be filtered.

“Best practice worldwide is to filter stacks. One stack is located almost next door to Rozelle Primary School. Parents are extremely concerned.”

“They are living through the unacceptable air quality impacts of WestConnex and they know worse may be on its way,” said Mayor Porteous

“We urgently need a comprehensive health study on the documented impacts of WestConnex and the predicted impacts of the Western Harbour Tunnel, including consideration of the cumulative impacts with other major construction projects.

“Our community has gone through hell and back with WestConnex. So when the only benefit the Government can come up with is a two minute saving in travel time, you have to ask why they are pushing ahead with this project.

“We have been saying for years that this mega motorway will not address congestion – it will add to it.

“What we actually need is more and better public and active transport,” Mayor Porteous said.

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