Motion: WestConnex St Peters Interchange

At our Council meeting on 14 June 2022, I tabled the following motion calling for greater transparency around the WestConnex St Peters Interchange. This followed revelations in City Hub that Transport for NSW failed to tell Council that the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has required further analysis of the site, even as it was pushing us to take responsibility for managing the "parkland" at the site. I'm pleased to say it passed with unanimous support. As ever, I'd love to know what you think.

THAT Council:

1. Requests an urgent briefing from Transport for NSW about the reports ordered by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) about the WestConnex St Peters Interchange, and the remediation works being carried out at the site;

2. Writes to the Premier and relevant Ministers to:

a. Request that Transport for NSW shares the reports ordered by the EPA with Council, along with any other relevant reports and information about investigations into ongoing contamination the WestConnex St Peters Interchange site;

b. Request that the EPA takes enforcement action on any non-compliance issues and licence breaches at the site in order to protect our local community;

c. Seek confirmation that the NSW Government will take responsibility for the care, control and management of the St Peters Interchange parkland, and work with Council to identify an alternative site to provide genuine open space and parkland as compensation for the impact of WestConnex.

Background

In September 2021, I brought a Notice of Motion to Council about the WestConnex St Peters Interchange park that led to the following resolution:

THAT Council:

1. Writes to the Premier and relevant Ministers to request that the NSW Government:

a. Conducts an immediate investigation into potential contamination at the site of the WestConnex St Peters Interchange;

b. Retains responsibility for the remediation, ownership and management of the parkland within the Inner West Council local government area, due to the ongoing challenges and financial costs Council would face if it were to take this on;

c. Works with Council to identify an alternative site to provide genuine open space and parkland as compensation for the impact WestConnex has had and continues to have on the surrounding area.

The motion followed months of efforts by Transport for NSW to get Council to take on the care, control and management of the parkland, despite the site showing obvious and disturbing signs of insufficient remediation and ongoing contamination from the toxic landfill over which it has been built.

However, as the City Hub newspaper reported on 17 May 2022, Transport for NSW knew the site was in need of serious remediation. Back in 2020, the EPA ordered Transport for NSW to appoint an independent auditor to conduct a thorough hazard assessment of the site. Transport for NSW applied for extensions to complete the assessment in December 2021 and February 2022, and the current status of the report is unclear. Council was not advised of any of the above.

City Hub also revealed that on 14 February 2022, the EPA received an application to vary the pollution licence so that remediation works could be carried out to repair a section of the toll road originally constructed by CPB Contractors, which is estimated to take about 18 months.

Meanwhile, monitoring reports at the site continue to show methane levels at explosive levels, and high levels of groundwater contamination. The ongoing contamination of the site is a serious matter of public health and safety on which we have been kept in the dark by Transport for NSW, even as it continues to push Council to take responsibility for managing the parkland within our LGA.

Given the potential risk to our community posed by ongoing issues at the site, and the lack of easily accessible information about this, I’m proposing we seek an urgent briefing from Transport for NSW about what’s happening at the site. It is also important that any reports ordered by the EPA are shared with Council, and that we continue to push the NSW Government to take responsibility for the site and provide genuine parkland as compensation for WestConnex.

Link to the City Hub report: https://cityhubsydney.com.au/2022/05/st-peters-transport-for-nsw-kept-council-in-the-dark-about-st-peters-contamination/ 

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  • Pauline Lockie
    published this page in Blog 2022-06-07 11:28:17 +1000

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