The state government’s handling of the Bells Line of Road – Castlereagh Corridor proposal has been labelled a “disgrace” by a federal MP.
In a statement released last week, Macquarie MP Susan Templeman said the Hawkesbury community had the right to be “furious” about the way in which the NSW Government made the corridor preservation announcement.
Both Ms Templeman and Hawkesbury Mayor Mary Lyons-Buckett attended the Transport for NSW meeting at North Richmond on April 11, both later criticising Hawkesbury MP Dominic Perrottet for failing to attend neither that meeting nor an earlier one at Kurrajong.
“The lack of information, the lack of clear options, and the lack of opportunity to have genuine discussion about the possible route of this future road is a disgrace,” Ms Templeman said.
“Unlike the state Member [Dominic Perrottet], I have attended two community information sessions so far, and we are still trying to pick up clues and hints from the responses to get the full picture of what is intended here.
“The same issues apply to people in Oakville, Maraylya and Vineyard.
“People are understandable distressed, angry and confused, and I have made by state counterparts aware of the many issues being raised.
“What particularly concerns me, on top of the cavalier way in which people whose homes are directly in the line of the corridor are being treated, is that so many residents whose homes and properties will be only metres from a potential road have not received any personal communication about it.
“The corridor plans also expose the NSW Government’s expectation that there will, before long, be many more Redbank-style developments across the river, which is why they want to preserve a corridor now, before the more intense development spreads.
“Nowhere is there any business case, nor an environmental assessment, nor any consideration of the wider impacts on whole communities of nominating this corridor for a future 4 lane highway which may actually never be built.
“We are told there were several options put to the NSW Cabinet, but only one put to the people. The state Member needs to get out of Macquarie Street, face people here, and explain why he and his Liberal and National colleagues made the decision that they have.”
Cr Lyons-Buckett said it was concerning to see some of the same people who had attended the meeting at Kurrajong still trying to obtain information at the North Richmond meeting.
“There is a clear indication that those affected by the corridor feel they have not been adequately consulted and some still feel in the dark as to just exactly how this will effect their land values and capacity to develop their land,” she said after the April 11 meeting.
“One of the major concerns is the deviation from the outlined schedule for the 2015 consultations, which would have seen a shortlist of options come back to the public for consideration and feedback. This has not occurred and the result is the anger and confusion expressed by those who are feeling compromised by the path the ‘consultation’ process has taken.
“Whereas the staff on hand were individually addressing questions from affected residents there was an overwhelming call for our local Member Mr Perrottet to front the meetings and respond from a political perspective as to why the announcement came without the process going through the previously outlined stages.
“For many residents it has been their life’s work poured into working and improving their properties, and the uncertainty arising from this decision has distressed many people significantly.
“Understandably people believe they should be privy to all options provided to the government for consideration, as the consultant indicated there were five but this one was the only one put out for public consultation.”