WestCONnex Action Group has been contacted by many residents whose homes have been damaged by WestCONnex construction or tunnelling. In some cases, the damage is severe and could hundreds of thousands of dollars to fix. The home of Beverly Hills resident, Kathryn Calman (pictured here), is likely to cost more than $200,000 to repair. Last week the media widely covered similar serious cracking damage to homes of residents above the M4 East tunnel in Strathfield.
WestCONnex contractors and RMS have denied liability for the damage, claiming the cracking is not caused by WestConnex construction, forcing residents to prove the damage and potentially incur thousands of dollars in survey and legal costs. They have also refused to provide residents with the geotech surveys needed to prove this.
Under the Conditions of Approval for each WestCONnex Stage, Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) is required to rectify at its expense any damage resulting from WestCONnex construction. However, in its contractual arrangements with Sydney Motorway Corporation, RMS has “contracted out” this obligation to SMC, which in turn has devolved responsibility for damage to the construction consortia for each Stage in the construction contracts. This means the Government has set up a system under which the party that has caused the damage has the power to assess whether or not the damage is caused by WestCONnex construction, a clear conflict of interests.
Further, damage to homes can take years to become apparent, even cracks which may be minor today can develop into serious damage once the soil and groundwater have settled and roads and tunnels become operational. It is even less likely that the construction contractors will accept responsibility in years to come, and may even have been wound up by then.
The Government has recognised this as a problem and in the Approval Conditions for Stage 3, the M4-M5 Link, has added additional provisions requiring an independent assessment process for damage claims. However, it has not applied these to the earlier WestCONnex Stages, or forced those contractors to remedy damage, leaving the residents there high and dry.
This is completely unacceptable. WAG has set up a register for people whose homes have been damaged by WestCONnex, so we can get a better idea of the extent of the problem and map where damage has been done. This will allow us to advocate for damage repair with RMS and the Dept of Planning, and to campaign for the establishment of a damage repair fund and independent damage assessment. If necessary, it will prepare the ground for a class action. It also means we can keep those impacted informed of developments. Your details and information will not be disclosed to anyone without your consent (see privacy statement below). You can be removed from the register at any time.
If you’ve experienced damage, please register, and take a look at Kathryn Calman’s speech at the Newtown Community meeting in August 2018, and her advice on what to do. https://www.facebook.com/westconnexactiongroup/videos/322611931809269/
Contact WAG at firstname.lastname@example.org or via our Facebook page.
Your privacy is important to Westconnex Action group (WAG). This privacy statement relates to the property damage register and explains the personal information we collect and how it will be treated.
The register involves the collection of personal information such as name, physical address and email address. Your personal information is only collected if you enter this data on the register.
Information is being collected by WAG for the following purposes:
- obtaining an understanding of the extent of damage to homes from the WestConnex project;
- sharing progress, information and tips with those impacted;
- to publicise the damage to homes and lobby Government and Opposition for a compensation fund and independent assessment.
Personal information that may identify you or your family will not be released to any third party without your written permission. Their details will not be included on general WAG campaign database unless you choose to opt in. You can correct any personal information held by WAG, or be removed from the register, at any time by contacting us at email@example.com.