Beaches Link and Gore Hill Extension EIS
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Closed
Update: A Preferred Infrastructure Request has been issued to Transport for NSW from the Department of Planning for the Beaches Link Project. This is essentially a change request. Details can be found here
A Parliamentary Inquiry into the Western Harbour and Beaches Link Project is underway - to find out how you can participate for the sake of Flat Rock Gully see the tab above
Please forward your submission to your local member - scroll down for details
The Western Harbour and Beaches Link projects are the largest construction projects to ever hit the North Shore. Our concerns were confirmed by the first EIS released on 29th January 2020. Whilst the Western Harbour Tunnel has been approved there are strong conditions due to community feedback and the project will need to be carefully costed to assess viability. The second stage EIS (the Beaches Link and Gore Hill Freeway) closed to consultation on the 1st March 2021 and we are awaiting a response.
We know the current tunnel plans don't make sense, why dig up a toxic tip site and put our environment, waterways and health at risk? It's all pain, no gain. If you want more sustainable transport options not toxic toll roads, if you are concerned about impacts on environment, climate, health, property, amenity and community make your voice heard and act today.
A Parliamentary Inquiry into both projects has been called in response to widespread community feedback
Department of Planning
The approver: Explore the documents (the Environmental Impact Statement) that have been submitted to the Department of Planning here (see EIS (72))
Transport for NSW
The proponent: TforNSW have a site that has an interactive map, recordings of community Q&A sessions and Frequestnly Asked Questions. Please note whilst this information can be helpful it is not the EIS which planning is approving.
Community Objection Suggestions
The community has reviewed the impacts of the project. Objection suggestions are as follows, each of these elements will impact some areas more than others. Please mention these in submissions. As a minimum please ask for the EIS to be reissued for public consultation with a
1) A full Phase 2 Contamination Assessment completed
2) A comparative mass transit alternative assessment
3) A business case which justifies travel times claimed, re-assesses surface traffic impact and includes fully scoped costs
Please have a look at your areas of interest below and include some examples of concerns relevant to you
High level contaminents found in Flat Rock and Middle Harbour -
groundwater, surface water and in Middle Harbour and the risk assessment has not been completed before going to public consultation.
Contamination can put communities, environments and workers at risk and cause major cost blow outs and delays in the project.
Cammeray Golf Course, Flat Rock Gully, Spit Reserve, Middle Harbour and Wakehurst Parkway all have confirmed contamination. Flat Rock Gully os a legacy Landfill site
We will essentially be mining our foreshore areas. Millions of tonnes of spoil will be removed from catchments, piling and drilling will become a feature in Middle Harbour, spoil will be dumped at sea, heritage homes will be put at risk, thousands of trucks and wastewater will be flushed down our creeks.
Longer term the tunnels will continue to draw down water and collect waste water for disposal down into Middle Harbour. Drawdown and water flow changes can have a significant impact on stability, green spaces, the spread of contaminents and ecosystems
Health & Wellbeing
High levels of noise, dust, heavy vehicle pollution, traffic and increased stress risks our health during a 5 year construction. Overlapping construction with other major projects exacerbates this.
Longer term, building more toll roads will force our growing population into cars. Combine that with unfiltered pollution stacks and increased local traffic and our pollution problems will continue to grow. These projects cut through Sydney's largest schools and sport zone - we can do better. Read alternatives.
Thousands of trees will be cleared and habitats put under greater strain in some of our last remaining urban wildlife corridors which are major catchments for Manly Dam and Middle Harbour.
Offsets will not save local threatened species such as Powerful Owls, micro bats, Little Penguins, seahorses and the White-bellied Sea-Eagle. The hundreds of other species, such as birds, possums, bandicoots and echidnas, which make up our biodiverse nature reserves could be lost to our suburbs forever.
Project Wide Objections
These impacts are project wide and need to be addressed by government in relation to their business case for the project and compliance with regulation, public accountability requirements and accordance with planning documents.
Tolls & Traffic
The EIS confirms that both the Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link Tunnels are toll roads. How much they will cost is yet to be announced. The probability of two way tolling on all Harbour Crossings including Beaches Link has been confirmed in the EIS. This will exacerbate the toll avoidance already being experienced across Sydney .
It is clear from the EIS data that this is not a local congestion solution. Our access is limited to ARTARMON and BERRY ST ONLY. Traffic will increase on feeder roads including Willoughby Rd and in Artarmon. The EIS confirms that only a 10% reduction on Military Rd will be achieved
Climate & Sustainability
The EIS confirms very high waste generation, water usage and concrete production volumes. Road tunnels are far larger than Metro and require more resources. They also induce and require (due to toll contracts) increased vehicle usage and produce emissions themselves due to the operations of lights, emergency systems, vent systems etc
This project does not help us meet our climate goals in fact it contributes negatively while increasing pollutants in and around our urban areas and green spaces.
Transparency of Cost Benefit
The business case for this project has not been released to the public. The community has requested the business case through letters, petitions and freedom of information requests but nothing has been provided. The travel time savings do not make sense to the communities based on current traffic demand. The business case should be transparent and should be able to stand up to public scrutiny in light of significant impacts and changed working conditions post Covid.
Our parks, waterways and natural green spaces have seen us through Covid and the sanctity of our homes has become more important than ever. Our quality of life is compromised by these projects during years of construction and into the future.
All options should be explored before deciding on this destructive path.
The government has not completed a full options analysis. It needs to look seriously at previously flagged mass transit alternatives ie) Dee Why to Chatswood and Neutral Bay Metro. These projects have a far lighter footprint and would be more effective congestion relievers in the long term.
Each submission needs to be different as the DPIE counts form letter submissions as one submission. They prefer submissions to be placed via their portal but you can also submit via post. If you would like to make a detailed submission we suggest you use the template to prepare your submission and either cut and paste your comments into the portal or attach - if you choose to attach it ask that you personal details are excluded from publication. We need as many objections as possible - classifying your objection as a comment won't lead to strong Conditions of Consent which contractors need to abide with. If you disagree strongly with any aspect of the EIS (ie unfiltered stacks, contamination of Flat Rock, increased traffic , climate profile etc) your submission should be lodged as an objection. Try to use the key words above as multiple submissions mentioning similar key words will ensure those come to the top of the conditions list. We suggest you keep a copy of your comments so you can send to your State Representative and others to make them aware of your objections.
Why Objecting is Important
It is important to note that "objecting to the project" means objecting to part or the whole project as it is outlined in the EIS rather than the concept of the project or what it could be. An objection has the most influence over whether Conditions of Approval will be granted which ensures that the community is best protected. As a community we need as many people as possible to submit their objections to ensure that our communities valid concerns are heard.
Tips for Writing your Objections
Note: It is important to include personal content to explain how you, your family or community will be personally impacted. It is also good to suggest what alternative you would like or what condition you would like to see if possible. If you are using any guidance documents try to personalise them a little as multiple "form letters" are counted as a single objection. We suggest that you save your objection as a pdf, upload it and then on send to your local MP, Council, the Chief Scientist and Medical Officer. Locate contact details below.
Need More Info? Here is what the experts think:
Save your submission and send it to decision makers like your local MP, local council, the Chief Health Officer and the Chief Scientific Officer
On the 30th July 2020 we submitted a petition to parliament regarding these projects - click here to view the contents. We are now running an online change.org petition to continue to raise awareness and ask decision makers to invest in projects that make sense and will help the most vulnerable. Sydney does not need more toxic expensive toll roads!
Please email it around, share it on social media as much as possible in both city and country areas. These projects are a huge waste of investment that could be used to stimulate our economy and provide for a prosperous future for all.