The NSW Government wants to bulldoze a large tract of community land around Flat Rock Drive to construct the Northern Beaches Tunnel. They are proposing to use either the baseball diamond area in Bicentennial Reserve on Flat Rock Drive or the Flat Rock Gully bushland on the other side of the Drive.
Both Bicentennial Reserve and Flat Rock Gully are important open space and community resources used by many groups in the community.
Flat Rock Gully is a critical part of the wildlife corridor in our district and is recognised for its biodiversity and as one of the last refuges for our fast disappearing small native bird population. It also provides a habitat for foraging powerful owls, swamp wallabies, lyrebirds and many other native animals.
Here are just a few of the known negative impacts of the tunnel construction on our community:
- around 6 acres of well-used community space will be taken over by tunnel construction for 6 or more years
- for Flat Rock Gully this means the removal of hundreds of native trees and the bulldozing of bushland, seats, paths, lawns and creek works
- Willoughby City Council and many dedicated volunteers have worked for 25 years to remediate this bushland
- there is no guarantee that the Flat Rock Gully site will be returned to bushland. The RMS has offered to leave buildings and cleared areas to be used for other purposes
- the RMS has advised that there will be over 70 truck movements an hour carrying contaminated spoil through our already congested local roads and near local schools. They will operate from 7am to 11pm Monday to Friday and for the first half of Saturday every week for 6 years or more
- the tunnel will be dug through toxic fill from the old tip site. The ground is unstable and the tip is known to contain asbestos and other toxic material
- there will be risks of air, land, noise and water pollution from the tunnel activities to nearby homes and schools and more broadly to the Willoughby district and surrounding areas including Middle Harbour
- similar concerns about congestion and the movement of contaminated spoil also arise in relation to the Western Harbour Tunnel
- the tunnel will include unfiltered stacks; some situated near local child care centres and schools as well as local streets
- the NSW Government has not considered any options other than a motorway tunnel to address the traffic congestion this proposal is supposed to relieve. The Infrastructure Australia website shows that no business plan has ever been submitted.WEPA is working with the Stop the Tunnel group on this action. They have a wide range of excellent resources already on their website. For example, see the fact sheet for environmentalists atwww.stopthetunnel.org/for-environmentalists
What can you do to help save Flat Rock Gully?
The public consultation on the proposed sites closes DECEMBER 1. Before then we would urge you to do one or all of the following:
- email the Premier and the RMS. See the Stop the Tunnels website at www.stopthetunnel.org.au for advice on how to do this. Don’t forget to highlight the importance of the Flat Rock Gully bushland to the people of Willoughby district
- another quick way to have your say is to ‘pin’ feedback to the RMS online maps. Note your opposition to the use of Flat Rock Gully and the local sports field for the tunnel construction. You can access the RMS maps at http://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/projects/sydney-north/western-harbour-tunnel-beaches-link/consultation-map-bl.html
- write a letter – see the full impact report prepared by community members here for further information:https://www.stopthetunnel.org/read-the-full-scientific-report-1
- you might like to call. See this page for phone numbers of those you can call:www.stopthetunnel.org/call-to-complain
- circulate the community petition to all your and friends and return to the address provided. Download the petition: https://www.stopthetunnel.org/want-to-help
- keep up to date with the campaign by visiting the WEPA page at https://www.facebook.com/wepa.org.au/ and join the Save the Gully site athttps://www.facebook.com/groups/490800731366523/
- volunteer some time. We would love to have members help us get more information out to the community! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org