Updated: Mar 24, 2021
We had a wonderful response from our community members, making known their concerns about the Beaches Link and Gore Hill Freeway Connection to the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment. This included 13 schools submitting from North Sydney to Manly Vale, several sporting clubs such as the Northbridge Sailing Club and North Shore Netball Association, multiple community groups such as Save Flat Rock Gully, P&Cs, community progress associations, Scouts, bike associations, and politicians such as the Member for Manly James Griffin, and the Greens NSW MP David Shoebridge... and over 1400 individuals.
The vast majority (nearly 90%) of all responses were objections to the tunnel and provided specific points that were unacceptable for reasons ranging from destruction of green corridors, water contamination, lack of public transport considerations, air pollution, the backwards approach to countering traffic increases, the preservation of unique wildlife, structural damage to homes and simply, no known business case to support the project.
Special mention to:
• Willoughby Environmental Protection Association who have set the bar at an summa cum laude academic standard with their 80-page submission outlining the impact to Willoughby's biodiversity and the local school children and residents, gaps in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), their 78 recommendations, and they have tied it all together neatly with a table of contents and notated reference section;
• The Save Flat Rock Gully team who practically gave a masterclass in submitting a thorough overview with visual references, specific issues and expectations in their 32-page objection;
• The Save Manly Dam Committee who tied in significant historical references and previous government promises while describing all the ways Manly Dam and its parklands will be harmed from this development in their 23-page submission replete with videos.
Not surprising to see that the public authorties / governing bodies, were reluctant to object outright to the project, but looking at their submissions, nearly all of them still raised conditions and concerns on the project. However the most disappointing submission came from the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Regulation identified being in support of the project, despite Sydney's lower north shore being rich in Aboriginal heritage dating back 4800 years. Sydney Morning Herald reported on 25 Feb 2021 that the $14 billion project is putting Aboriginal achaeological sites on the north shore at risk of being destroyed, covered and submerged. Yes, there are such sites. Many. In the Warringah, Willoughby, Lane Cove and North Sydney Council areas alone there are approximately 1,000 Aboriginal sites including middens, rock engravings, axe grinding grooves, carved trees and stone arrangements.
More to come
Some councils have been given a few extra days to finalise their submissions, so you can still make your voice heard. Willoughby Council has this week passed a motion to change their submission to an objection, and we anticipate others will be following suit.
What can we do now?
Let's keep momentum going and not let the spotlight turn away from this. Media attention is key, and keep your local member focused on the issues as well. Write to SMH letters page (firstname.lastname@example.org) and write to your local member and send them your submission, so that they actually read and register your views.
Take a look at your submission here. If you think your submission hasn't been classified correctly please email Belinda Scott at email@example.com