Vanessa & Gary from Alexandria: We want infrastructure that moves people not cars

( Ed: Vanessa Knight and Gary Speechley live in Alexandria, which is close to the proposed St Peters Interchange and Sydney Park. Their suburb is in the thick of the push for development that will bring more residents into inner Sydney. Some developments are well planned but some are not, so there is plenty of work for their local Alexandria Residents’ Action Group to do.  Last year the group put up a great fight to save the heritage Alexandria Hotel. After a huge community campaign, they saved the building but not the hotel itself. Now they are faced with the possibility of 71,000 cars pouring out of  WestCONnex into their already congested suburb. Vanessa and Gary have been at the forefront of those struggles. Below, we have published their strong submission objecting to the New M5 EIS. We asked Gary how why they became involved in the fight to stop WestCONnex.  

Gary :

Vanessa and I got involved in ARAG because we love where we live and want to contribute to our community. We endorse ARAG’s goal of not dictating opinion, but putting information before our residents so that they can formulate their own views on issues and make up their own minds.
We like to be doing something positive and pro-active for the area – the Alexandria Sunday FunDay will be held in Alexandria Park on 20th March from 11am to 3pm.
But we spend most of our time fighting over-development and hare-brained schemes from governments: the sale of ATP; WestCONnex; council amalgamations; pro-developer changes to planning laws (which we helped, through BPN and many other groups, to overthrow); the Central-to-Eveleigh redevelopment; the “privatisation” of the Bankstown railway line; the sale of the Alexandria Hotel; dodgy building certifiers; the Ashmore Estate development; lifts for Redfern and Erskineville stations; adequate bus routes; . . . Sadly, the list is a long one!
We just want government to deliver evidence-based, open and transparent decision-making, and to leave us alone to live our lives normally!!!
WestCONnex is a joke of a project that has no valid business case – despite the spin from government and the redacted text from the “revised” business case. We need alternative proposals to be costed and compared to the purported “benefits” of WestCONnex. $16.8 billion, blowing out more and more each day – WITHOUT considering the unfunded third stage to link the M4, M4 and the Airport – can buy a hell of a lot of public transport, public housing, schools, childcare, hospitals, …
Vanessa and Gary Speechley
Vanessa and Gary Speechley

Here is Vanessa and Gary’s submission to the M5 EIS consultation process which closes at midnight tomorrow January 29th. It provides lots of ideas for other submissions.


How appropriate that we make this submission on Australia Day.

We strongly object to this project and the entire WestCONnex of which this is part, and ask that you reject this proposal on the basis of this environmental impact statement (EIS). Continue reading


Westconnex postpones planning for climate change until “detailed design” phase

(Ed: The EIS was required to consider the impact of changes in rainfall due to climate change on the project. It was also required to carry out a risk assessment which includes the risks of climate change. We have already published researcher Owen’s Price contribution on Greenhouse Gas Emissions . In this post, Dr Jennifer Hamilton – Adjunct Lecturer, New York University and visiting fellow at UNSW critiques the approach to climate change taken by engineering firm AECOM in its EIS.) 

Strategies to manage climate change risks put off to “detailed planning” stage

The Climate Change Risk Assessment portion of the M5 EIS conjures an image of a durable roadway system withstanding the tests of a changing climate. While the document incorporates climate change into the risk profile of the project, it ultimately recommends very little in the way of direct risk management strategies other than the “consideration” of various potential risks in the next phase of the design process and a few non-binding suggestions as to what these design adaptations might look like (see pages Chapter 25-9 & 25-10).

20151206_West COnnexTrees#2_0006Paperbark trees in Euston Road, Alexandria will be replaced by a widened road to cater for thousands of extra polluting cars and trucks. Photo by Lorrie Graham

Continue reading

Review of Greenhouse Gas emissions estimates for Westconnex Stage 2 New M5 EIS

Dr Owen Price, South Sydney Greens and Senior Research Fellow, University of Wollongong.

The EIS for stage 2 of the Westconnex motorway attempts to calculate future emissions from the construction and operation of the road and from the vehicles that will use it. The construction phase causes a large one-off Greenhouse Gas emissions (473,000 tons), but the vehicles using the road will generate the most emissions (~7 m tons/yr). The calculations for the construction and operation (14,000 tons/yr) seem reasonable. However, the EIS predicts that by 2031, Greenhouse Gas (GhG) emissions from road use will decrease by 229,000 t/yr compared to a scenario based on doing minimal road works (2.9% decrease) and this prediction is flawed. The calculation takes several factors into account: the general projected growth of road traffic across Sydney; the likely preferences of road users to change their current routes to use the new toll; the reduction in congestion from adding new capacity and induced travel (the tendency for more journeys to be undertaken just because of the increased ease of travel).

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Vol-1C Chapter-22 Greenhouse-gas

Previous chapter: Vol 1C Chapter 21 Biodiversity

Vol 1C Chapter 22 Greenhouse gas

hi-res pdf: New M5 EIS Vol 1C.pdf

Low-res pdf: New M5 EIS Vol 1C Chapter 22 Greenhouse gas.pdf

Section Pages
22 Greenhouse gas 22-1
22.1 Assessment methodology 22-1
22.2 Existing environment 22-3
22.3 Assessment of potential impacts 22-4
22.4 Environmental management measures 22-19

Appendix: Vol 2H App U Greenhouse gas

Next chapter: Vol 1C Chapter 23 Aboriginal heritage