Kingsgrove Beverly Hills
The impacts on Kingsgrove and Beverly Hills are of grave concern to WAG. Attacks by the government on the WAG group are designed to hide from the residents of South West Sydney the impacts on their communities. We are concerned, for example, about the residents of Stoney Creek Road who have never been properly consulted or informed about the increase traffic and pollution, they will face as a result of the New M5. Details of information about increased traffic should have been explicitly communicated to them in a range of appropriate community languages.
We have other particular concerns which in the context of the failure of the project to meet major objectives reflect an arrogance towards the liveability of communities affected by the project.
Retention of large earth mound
During the build of the original M5, in consultation with the local residents, a large earth mound was constructed, starting at the end of Garema Circuit, for over 350 metres past Rosebank Ave. This is now at risk. This earth mound improves delineation and noise suppression from the current M5 to a limited extent and provides a home for many birds and other wildlife, which have taken over 15 years since the end of the first stage of the M5 to return. This community has already been carved up by a failed tollway project, we object to the way their neighbourhood is again being destroyed. This impacts should have been considered in the social impact study - The impact and even the anxiety associated with the loss of this small bit of protection cannot be underestimated.
Beverley Grove Park
Beverley Grove Park, a large open space area that is used for many different passive recreational activities. Over the last few years, many young families have moved into these three streets and this is the only open space area that is walking distance for these young families to allow their kids to play & picnic in a safe, car free area. The next closest area is up on busy Moorefields Road (Clemton Park). This is not an option for most families as it is also an official sporting ground and as such, has many bookings by sporting bodies who obviously have precedence over passive recreation.
These two landscape items together make up the entire greenspace for this local community.
You would expect that any EIS, especially its section on social impacts would pay some attention to the impact of removing such a valuable resource.
A resident and member of WAG Colleen Whinney wrote about what the park meant to the community:
My parents moved into Glamis Street when I was six months old. It was in the mid 1950's and the street was gravel from half way down the hill. Behind the back fence was a huge paddock and the old brick pits. My neighbours two doors up (who are still there and in their 90's), had horses out the back and after school, I'd saddle Star and go riding. One of my favourite rides was along the track by Wolli Creek bush near Earlwood. In winter, we'd light bonfires out in the back paddock and neighbours would get together for dinner behind the glow of the fires, while we kids played. From the age of five, we walked up the hill to MacCallum's Hill public school every day and we walked home. It was a different day for kids back then.
Across the road in the front of our house was a bigger Beverly Grove Park, a rambling parkland that extended to the canal and over to the old Coca Cola factory in Beverly Hills. Little did I know that the forest by the park would be classified as endangered. My father played cricket in the sports fields of Beverly Grove on weekends and neighbourhood kids were active in the park until called inside for dinner. It was an adventure. There were few cars in the sixties and so growing up in my neighbourhood was a kid's dream.
We lost the paddocks in the 1970's to Garema Circuit and my mother was very concerned about the proximity of the factory to our back fence. It was a shame not to be able to enjoy the paddocks, but this was progress.We knew that the bottom of the hill was zoned for the eastern distributor, but Mum always said it was unlikely in her lifetime. That was almost the case.
In the 1990's we received word that the M5 was to commence construction. When my mother saw the plans, she was concerned that no consideration was given to providing underpasses between our side and the south to Kingsgrove railway station and shopping centre and so started her ongoing conversation with the council, state minister for roads, Carl Scully and premier Morris Iemma. The one saving grace was the creation of the earth mound as a noise and visual barrier between us and the motorway. Our Beverly Grove Park got chopped up and we lost a bit of the forest, but the creation of the Linear Walk had improved the walk to the station and over the years, the trees finally got established on the mound. We endured three years of dust during construction and a further five years of more dust and weeds as the mound "matured". It was not pleasant, but the result was liveable.
Today, it's a pretty sight at the bottom of our hill. Birds have made the area home and kids can still play across the road in safety. The days of saddling up the horse at the back have long gone, but the kids are still here. Young families have discovered this little oasis and chosen the raise their families here in Kingsgrove, north of the M5. Now we are to lose it all. The new M5 will convert four lanes to ten and this sanctuary will be gone in the name of progress. So where will the kids play?
This and other similar examples where the EIS argues for being allowed to destroy what was set aside in mitigation, must surely demonstrate that when the agenda is ‘tollways’ no promises will necessarily hold.
Use of Beverley Grove Park during construction
WAG rejects this use of this Green Space during construction. The study of impacts does not reflect the importance to the community of this resource. We ask you to consider this and a range of other what might seem like smaller issues in the context of the project to meet its overall objectives.
Construction Traffic Movements around Kingsgrove North Construction Site (C1)
We reject the idea of using Garema Circuit for up to 24 hours a day to haul large volumes of soil from the tunnel construction point. Due to the proximity to private housing on the west side, the noise impacts on local residents are unacceptable. We do not find the health risks to be acceptable.
The Use of Transparent Noise Barriers between Garema Circuit & Canterbury Golf Course
In ‘New M5 EIS Vol 1B Chapter 14 Visual Impact & Urban Design’ it states that this community will be granted a “transparent noise barrier around 4 metres high”. This is completely unacceptable. Residents do not want to see traffic passing by our houses & parkland to slightly improve the visual aspect for motorists. This whole suggestion provides an excellent example of how this whole project priortises needs of motorists and creates car dependency above the needs of impacted communities.
Air quality of schools, parks and community facilities
It is clear from the air quality data that Beverly Hills North Public School is already exposed to fine particulate pollution which is high compared to most of Sydney. We can see that this will be higher after the project. We do not believe that sufficient information about the impacts on this school and others in the area have been passed to parents and staff at the school. This applies to other schools in the area as well. As we have explained above the presentation of the AIr quality data is unsatisfactory and when asked at an EIS exhibition to supply actual figures, an RMS air quality person was unable to do this.
WAG objects these impacts and asks that the Minister reject this proposal.