Submission for: SydneyMetro Project Modification Request MOD 8
I object to this modification (Mod 8) request. I also wish to register my and other community member’s concern that it appears that the 'consultation' process is merely ‘ticking the boxes’, the decision having apparently already been approved, according to comments by the project managers and a letter I received from our local member Felicity Wilson who wrote on the 6th July, 2020, (I quote) "I share your disappointment that the site will not be returned to our community when initially advised and apologise on behalf of the project."
We sincerely trust this is not the case.
The residents of Blues Point rightly feel that extending the impact of this project and particularly the Acoustic ‘Shed’ (really a building as it is larger than many apartment buildings) on our lives for an additional 16-18 months is placing an excessive burden on a group of people, when other, better options must be available. The decision runs 'rough-shod' over our right to 'quiet enjoyment' of our homes and locality and has serious safety, financial and health and wellbeing impacts. Furthermore, the reasons given for this change make little sense. To also feel that the decision has been made before any level of consultation makes us question whether this Modification Report and ‘consultation’ is just window dressing and if so, that we, the residents and voters who are most affected, are being treated very poorly.
The argument that the project will have a significant positive impact for the people of Sydney is understood by the vast majority of residents but that should not in any way give a green light to decisions and actions that will have a serious negative impact on the local people and environment, particularly as the stated need to use Blues Point appears unnecessary anyway.
Blues Point residents have on the whole been supportive of this project. However, that something is 'good' for the whole, doesn't give it the automatic right to take decisions that are very bad for other people without proper scrutiny and due process.
The impact to Blues Point of this project will be for five years minimum! That is a significant length of time to subject residents and businesses to the impacts on their lives this project and its ‘shed’ brings. One young family whose unit's outlook is completely obliterated by the acoustic (shed) have a child who will have learnt to talk and be in primary school before the child sees the view from their living room! The impact of this very long period needs to be taken into account.
The planned access point of Barangaroo (under which this project was originally approved in January 2017) is a much better site in almost every way. That world class project managers and companies involved in this project suddenly realised they can't use Barangaroo doesn't ring true to anybody; especially those who have experience in large construction projects. We feel strongly this is a decision of expedience to be able to complete the project more quickly, with the resultant benefits for the constructors, building owners, government and incidentally, the public, but clearly not for the residents of Blues Point. We feel that there is little truth in the reasons given to us. That the decision was suddenly announced also makes no sense. Projects of this size do not leave such matters to the last moment. It is more likely this was decided some time ago; perhaps from the start and the decision to tell us was left till the last minute to limit community opposition. If this is the case, and it certainly looks that way, it makes a mockery of the legislated process and shows a cavalier attitude and disregard of the community and voters of NSW, which we are sure the NSW government would not condone.
Impact on the amenity and value of properties and stated additional time
When the Blues Point Retrieval site was approved, it was for a specific time frame. Residents arranged their lives and plans on that basis and on the whole have been very supportive of the Metro work, despite it being constant for years.
Even just weeks before the announcement that this extension was being sought, residents were being told that the Acoustic ‘Shed’ was being dismantled shortly. Many made plans, including my wife and I. At least one owner in our building has delayed putting their property on the market from last year till September, at some expense, because of the regularly communicated timeline residents have been given.
This change will result in the Acoustic ‘Shed’ building blocking views and amenity for close to another 18 months, not 12 months as the modification document states repeatedly. It may be that the original approval was until late this calendar year, but the ‘shed’ has been scheduled to come down in June/July this year for a long time. Well over a year, perhaps two years. The modification proposes that it stays up until just before Christmas 2021. That is 16 months from when the shed was to be removed according to the projects own communicated timeline.
That the modification is required to keep the project on schedule.
This doesn't ring true.
The Project is running six months ahead of schedule according to the project people associated with Blues Point. This is because by utilising the Acoustic ‘Shed’, the work has proceeded 24 hours a day. Again, with resident support, despite impacts on sleep and normal life.
The idea that contracts to build out the stations and therefore restrict access to complete the tunnels were let without realising the impact on access is ludicrous. Similarly, that archaeological finds made years ago have suddenly caused this problem are also ludicrous. No significant project would find itself unexpectedly in such a position. We feel that this is a decision that was taken some time ago, and the residents who will be most affected have been kept in the dark. What else can we think? This decision is wrong for many reasons and has a serious negative impact on the health and wellbeing of the Blues Point community.
Environmental Impact Statement
The modification report comments on the original EIS and seeks to minimise the impact on local residents and businesses of the work at Blues Point. The modification report claims either 'insignificant' or 'no' affect from the work and truck movements across multiple areas of concern. They are too numerous to list. But this is simply untrue.
The Acoustic ‘Shed’ does dominate the environment totally. It is a building with a size equivalent to a 3 to 4 story apartment building, but unlike a normal building, it is a blank dark colour. It completely takes the outlook and view from many homes, and dominates the view from others. How this impact can be trivialised is beyond me.
The reserve that was acquired for this project was used constantly by tourists, weddings, families enjoying a picnic, dog walkers and the like. Photographs taken from tourist spots on the east side of the bridge looking back at the bridge will have this enormous brown building dominating the foreshore of Blues Point. There is nothing insignificant about that.
Cement trucks have been arriving at times at 3 minute intervals, along with other supply trucks. The report may state that this is of little impact to residents, but clearly the authors aren't living here and this proposition is so wrong it causes residents’ anger and angst.
The truck noise does disturb and wake residents, along with the fumes and ancillary noise including reversing beepers. Blues Point Road has a significant grade and trucks make noise as they climb the hill. The planned delivery of concrete around the clock is not acceptable for this reason. Further the constant stream of trucks through the cafe village does nothing for their businesses and creates an unnecessary risk to pedestrians and car drivers. This impact is not ‘Nil’ or ‘insignificant’. It is major and this modification request expects it to be around the clock for a year!
Minimising truck movements was important enough for the project to build and operate a jetty and barge to move spoil (and tunneling equipment) instead of trucking it through Blues Point. Now, it is deemed as having a minor inconvenience factor which is ridiculous.
The statements to the effect that all options are closed except Blues Point ca not be correct
If all other options are closed it can only be because the project managers made the decision to allow this to happen. As stated earlier, no professional project or construction management would allow such a situation to suddenly occur. If other options are closed it is because they decided some time ago to do so and they will have only done so knowing their alternative plan of using Blues Point would be approved, or had been approved. This could not be the case because, apart from being dishonest, unfair and unconscionable, it would make a mockery of the legislated processes put in place to protect the interests of citizens of NSW. Therefore, other options must still be available including Barangaroo, which was always the project plan.
Whilst it may be expedient, this modification request is unnecessary and I urge it be refused.
This Modification request is:
• Unnecessary - Barangaroo should be used and the project is ahead of schedule, and
• Has serious negative financial, health and wellbeing impacts on a community
The maintenance of the Acoustic Building and associated vehicle movements will have a significant impact on the day to day lives of many residents and visitors to Blues Point. There is a 'human cost' to this one year and four to six month delay which need not occur.
I request that this Modification request be refused and that the project is completed, as per its original approval, utilising the Barangaroo and Crows Nest sites for access.