ST PETERS families whose houses are being forcibly acquired for the WestCONnex toll road were devastated to learn they could lose their homes as early as next March after they received Roads and Maritime Service (RMS) letters confirming they have as little as 21 days to agree a sale price before the compulsory acquisition process starts.
The same letter confirmed the properties would not actually be needed for WestCONnex construction until December 2016.
The news comes in the wake of fresh revelations the RMS is undervaluing properties it’s forcibly acquiring for the WestCONnex M4 East, and last week’s announcement that the New M5 environmental impact statement (EIS) would only be open to public submissions during the festive and summer holiday season.
“For the Baird Government to do this to families at Christmas is absolutely shameful, especially when these properties are being taken before the WestCONnex New M5 and M4 East projects have even received planning approval,” said WestCONnex Action Group (WAG) spokesperson Janet Dandy-Ward.
“Dozens of families in areas such as Concord, Strathfield and Haberfield will now lose their homes the week before Christmas, despite not knowing how much they’ll get for their properties.
“The impact this is having on people is immense. We’ve had people come to us telling us they’re on medication for anxiety and depression caused by the stress of negotiating with the RMS because of the systematic approach they’re taking to undervaluing people’s homes and businesses.
“I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised the Baird Government is resorting to such low tactics given WestCONnex’s cost has blown out from $10 billion in 2012 to $16.8 billion today.
“That now puts the cost of Baird’s WestCONnex toll road at over half a billion dollars per kilometre.
“Yet even the Baird Government’s own figures show WestCONnex will make congestion on our local streets worse, not better, because people won’t pay its massive tolls just to drive straight into an inner-city traffic jam.
“No wonder the WestCONnex business case released by the Baird Government blacked out all the cost and toll revenue figures. It’s clear this taxpayer-funded toll road will be a massive financial failure – and one that would come at huge social cost.
“For the sake of everyone in NSW, we call on Premier Baird to walk away from the toxic WestCONnex toll road before any more of our taxpayer dollars are wasted, and more people are forced out of their homes and small businesses for no good reason.”
Media contacts: Pauline Lockie 0414 470 106, Janet Dandy-Ward 0411 633 676