Inner West Council motion on WestCONnex night works noise

This video was taken at 10pm last night in St Peters, where residents have endured yet another sleepless night thanks to WestCONnex night works. It's been going on for 2 weeks now, with only 2 nights' respite each week.

At the same time, WestConnex contractors have informed some residents that they won't be entitled to the noise abatement measures the New M5 conditions of approval says they must deliver.

It's not good enough and it has to stop. That's why I'll be tabling thefollowing motion at the next Inner West Council meeting on Tuesday. I'd love to know what you think:

MOTION:

THAT Council:

1. Write urgently to the Premier, Minister for WestConnex and Minister for Planning to:

a. Express major concern about the unacceptable noise impacts of construction works in St Peters, Haberfield and Ashfield, where residents have faced weeks of night works on top of daily construction noise;


b. Demand that night works should not take place on an ongoing basis, as has been happening in recent weeks;


c. Insist that if night work is unavoidable, affected residents must be offered alternative accommodation or other meaningful noise mitigation measures, even if night works do not take place on consecutive nights, and regardless of whether they have been classified as “sensitive receivers” by WestConnex contractors; and

d. Demand that WestConnex contractors act immediately to deliver their at property noise treatment obligations as outlined in the WestConnex The New M5 Construction Noise and Vibration Plan (October 2016).

BACKGROUND:

Residents in St Peters, Haberfield and Ashfield have been enduring unacceptable noise impacts from ongoing works for the WestConnex tollway for well over a year. This is causing great distress and disturbance for residents, many being families with young children and for older residents with health considerations. 

In recent weeks, these impacts have been compounded by escalating night works, which have left residents enduring near-constant noise both day and night.

Council voted on 3 October 2017 to “Write to the Minister for WestConnex...Urgently seeking a meeting to discuss the ongoing and unacceptable impacts on residents in Haberfield and St Peters from utility companies associated with the project conducting night works”. 

However, this issue goes beyond utility companies, as they are not the only ones conducting these works. It also goes beyond the remit for the Minister for WestConnex, which is why I am proposing we broaden the scope of that resolution with this motion now. 

For example, earlier this month in St Peters, residents were informed that night works were to take place on Princes Highway north of Campbell Street, 7pm to 5am, every weeknight between Monday 6 November to Friday 17 November, except for the Tuesday and Thursday nights in this two-week period. 

Residents were also informed that night works would take place on May St at the other end of Campbell St, less than 500m away:

  • 7pm Friday 10 November to 5am Monday 13 November
  • 7pm Friday 17 November to 5am Monday 20 November
  • 7pm Friday 24 November to 5am Monday 27 November

The area between these two sites in St Peters is completely residential. Residents living near or between them had to deal with huge amounts of noise and floodlights for most nights during these weeks. A number of residents have reported being able to hear noise coming from both construction sites at the same time, doubling the noise impact. 

In Haberfield and Ashfield, residents now receive blanket notifications alerting them to months of WestConnex day and night works in a broad area. More specific notifications of night works are sometimes received, but only if residents have subscribed to the WestConnex email list. 

As in St Peters, these works have seen residents subjected to near-constant construction noise day and night, often with consecutive nights of construction work. 

See Attachment 1 for copies of these notifications.

It should go without saying that is not acceptable for residents to face weeks of ongoing day and night construction noise with little respite. But unless urgent action is taken, it is likely that WestConnex contractors will continue to implement more periods of intense night work.

At the same time, CPB Contractors (the firm contracted by the Sydney Motorway Corporation to construct the WestConnex St Peters Interchange) is failing to meet its obligations in regards to noise mitigation measures.

The WestConnex New M5 Construction Noise and Vibration Plan (“the Plan”) lists properties eligible for “operational noise treatment” (defined in the plan as “areas where receivers would be subject to construction noise impacts”), along with the level of noise treatment they are eligible for. (A definition of noise treatment types appears in Attachment 2, along with a link to the Plan. Eligible properties are listed in Appendix E of the Plan.) 

Despite this, residents in St Peters have not received any noise abatement treatment to their properties to deal with construction noise. A number of residents have also been informed that even though their properties were identified in the Plan as being eligible for Type 2 treatment, they will now only receive Type 1 treatment.

Repeated attempts by residents to convince CPB Contractors to provide the noise abatement measures they should be entitled to have fallen on deaf ears.

By actively downgrading the at-property treatment measures specified in the Plan for specific properties, CPB Contractors is potentially in breach of the Plan and its conditions of approval for the project.

Attachment 1: Notifications of night works

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Attachment 2: 

ATTACHMENT 2: Definitions of at-property treatment. 

Taken from WestConnex The New M5 Construction Noise and Vibration Plan, pp 76-77. 

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