INNER WEST residents are furious after Education Minister Rob Stokes rejected building pollution stacks near schools for the Beaches Link tunnel, despite approving the construction of multiple unfiltered stacks near schools for WestConnex.
Minister Stokes, who approved the WestConnex stacks in his previous role as Planning Minister, told the Manly Daily: “I won’t be party to putting stacks near kids.
“There is no way in hell I’d support any development that would put the lives of pupils, teachers and parents at risk,” said Minister Stokes.
As Planning Minister, Stokes approved the construction of the WestConnex M4 East and New M5 tunnels, which includes unfiltered pollution stacks near schools such as Haberfield Public School and St Peters Public School.
“It's absolutely outrageous that Minister Stokes appears to value the lives of kids, parents and teachers in Liberal Party electorates more than those in the inner west,” said independent candidate for Inner West Council Pauline Lockie.
“Why else would he approve building WestConnex’s deadly poison stacks next to inner west schools, homes and businesses, yet reject exposing people across the north shore to the same thing?
“I am completely opposed to building deadly unfiltered pollution stacks for WestConnex or any tollway near people's schools, homes or businesses.
“That’s why I’ve campaigned against this for years as part of the WestCONnex Action Group, and will continue to do so if I’m elected to Inner West Council,” said Ms Lockie.
Residents took to the WestCONnex Action Group’s Facebook page this morning to express their fury.
“So the inner west kids’ health is not taken as seriously as that of the kids from the north shore liberal voting families,” said one resident, while others derided Stokes’ position as “disgraceful” and “unbelievable”.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), there is no safe level of exposure to particulate matter – one of the most deadly components of vehicle air pollution – noting that “no threshold has been identified below which no damage to health is observed”.
Media contact: Pauline Lockie 0414 470 106
Manly Daily article: bit.ly/2uEqEoZ
WHO information on air pollution: bit.ly/1qy9yfL
WestCONnex Action Group post: bit.ly/2uElCch