Motion on WestConnex noise mitigation

Residents living near WestConnex construction sites are still being denied proper soundproofing measures, despite this being part of the tollway projects' conditions of approval. Some have been fighting for proper noise mitigation for months, which is why I'll be moving the following motion at next week's meeting to get Council to advocate more strongly for these residents.

NOTICE OF MOTION: WESTCONNEX NOISE MITIGATION

THAT Council support residents living near WestConnex construction and operational sites who have been denied proper noise mitigation (soundproofing) measures by:

1. Writing to the Premier, relevant Ministers, and the Sydney Motorway Corporation (SMC) to:

a. Express our concern and frustration that residents near WestConnex construction sites are continuing to be denied full noise mitigation measures, even where there’s proof that they’re living with unacceptable levels of day and/or night noise;

b. Request that residents living near WestConnex construction sites are provided with full soundproofing measures (usually defined as Type 2 noise mitigation measures in project EISs) with the cost to be borne by the project proponent, and that these noise mitigation measures are installed without any further delay;

c. Reiterate our request that residents are offered alternative accommodation during any periods of night works where intrusive noise will arise.

2. Using Council’s communication channels to:

a. Highlight the ongoing noise issues being faced by residents living near WestConnex construction sites, and;

b. Call on the NSW government, the SMC and its contractors to provide proper soundproofing and other noise mitigation measures as required.

3. Advocating on behalf of individual residents who request Council’s support on this matter.

Background

As part of the conditions of approval for the WestConnex project, the NSW government (through its project contractors) is required to offer noise mitigation measures to residents who are or will be impacted by WestConnex construction and operational noise.

In practice, however, the manner in which this has been implemented has been inconsistent, and in many cases, substandard. This brings into serious question the ability and commitment of Government and regulators to protect communities from the huge and continuing effects of very high impact projects like WestConnex.

I have been approached by a number of residents who have reported that the noise mitigation measures they have been offered will not be enough to properly soundproof their homes against construction or operational noise.

For example, one St Peters resident, Tamara Regan, has been offered full soundproofing on around half her house, but denied it on rooms such as her daughter’s bedroom. Her daughter is about to enter her senior years of high school, and her bedroom doubles as her study. See Attachment 1.

Ms Regan’s home was originally identified in the New M5 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) as being eligible for full soundproofing (“Type 2”). Her neighbour directly across the road has, appropriately, had full soundproofing measures installed. To add insult to injury, an empty home three doors away from Ms Regan, which has been uninhabited for nearly three years since being acquired by the RMS, has also had full soundproofing measures installed.

Other residents have been told they are not eligible for soundproofing at all, despite having WestConnex construction happening outside their homes. For example, Mr James Macpherson of Haberfield currently has night construction works happening outside his bedroom window. Yet he’s been informed by the NSW Government that WestConnex’s noise assessment shows his property isn’t eligible for noise mitigation measures. See Attachment 2.

All of the residents who have approached me and/or Council for help have been in negotiations with the Sydney Motorway Corporation, the NSW government, and WestConnex contractors for months with no success, which is why they have asked Council for support in this matter.

Officer’s Comments:

Comment from Group Manager Strategic Planning:

Item 1 in the Notice of Motion can be accommodated from existing staff time and is likely to cost $150.  Item 2 can also be accommodated from existing staff time when addressed by correspondence and discussions with Government representatives if the amount of residents is small.

Attachment 1: Letter to Ms Tamara Regan

Edited to remove Ms Regan’s contact details. Included with permission.

Letter to Ms Regan

Attachment 2: Letter to Mr James Macpherson from Mark Coure MP

Edited to remove Mr Macpherson’s contact details. Included with permission.

Letter to Mr Macpherson


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