Members may be aware that the NSW Government is forging on in its process to construct a tunnel from the inner city to the Northern Beaches through the middle of Flat Rock Gully, Naremburn and Middle Harbour.
WEPA continues to work with the Stop the Tunnels campaign and other local community groups to oppose this project due to the wide range of negative impacts it will have on air quality, noise levels, traffic and the bushland environment in the Willoughby Local Government Area.
The NSW Government is issuing the Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) for this project in two parts. The first EIS, which covered the Western Harbour and Warringah Expressway part of the proposal concluded public consultation at the end of March.
In its submission to this proposal, WEPA reinforced its strong objection to the environmentally-negative aspects of the tunnel project. We also objected to the way in which the EIS process has been launched – before the business case has been released and after advertisements for tunnel project positions have been circulated. We believe that this staging of the process completely undermines community faith in the EIS and state development process.
We also objected to the insufficient time allowed to the community to review a document of over 9,000 pages and the fact that the public consultation was held over the school holiday break/pandemic crisis when those most at risk from the project were least able to respond. WEPA joined with other organisations to write to the Premier on this issue but further time was rejected.
It is more than likely that the global panedemic will have a major and long-term impact on the economy which will in turn impact on the data and modelling used for the EIS. With the decrease in the workforce it is more than likely that private car usage will decrease. This adds to the reasons why this car tunnel project should re-considered in terms of the alternative benefits of public transport.
WEPA has major concerns about the negative impact of this project on local air quality, parks and open spaces, the cleanliness of our local harbour and waterways, biodiversity in our local bushland and the increase in C02 emissions which were also expressed in our submission – to read a copy click here.
The next EIS – which will cover the much-loved bushland in Flat Rock Gully and beautiful Middle Harbour – is likely to be released mid-2020. If you would like to become involved in the campaign to protect these sites or to continue your opposition to date please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.