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I oppose the Westconnex M5 expansion through St Peters

February 29, 2016

Date:   26 January 2016

Re:      SSI 14_6788 EIS – Submission to Westconnex, New M5 Extension and St Peters Interchange and Euston Road widening.       

To:      NSW Department of Planning and Environment, GPO Box 39, Sydney

CC:     Premier Mike Baird

From: Isabel McIntosh, Alexandria Resident, Two streets from Euston Road.

Dear Minister Stokes and Minister Gay, Premier Baird and those who have responsibility for leadership in NSW.

I am writing regarding the WestConnex M5 expansion EIS, specifically its bisecting of the inner west and St Peters.  I strongly object to this expansion that will bisect the suburbs of the inner west within metres of people’s home and green space and does not engage with alternative solutions to achieve the government objectives or engage with best practice of sustainable and liveable and 21st century cities.

This Australia Day I should have been at the beach with my kids, enjoying a last holiday before school goes back. Instead I drafted a submission on WestConnex. The EIS tells me that the St Peters Interchange will dump 100,000 cars a day onto local roads. Beautiful Sydney Park will lose 14,000sq metres of land and 350 trees when one local road is widened for 60,000 of those extra cars. But where will these cars then go when they leave the six lanes for the single lane? Every time I look at the EIS I only have more questions.

I want to know where I can find an integrated assessment that looks at the cumulative impact of WestConnex. At the moment each bit of the environmental, social, cultural and economic damage is looked at in isolation. If a piece of fabric had so many rips it would be considered ruined.

  1. My significant questions
  2. Cumulative Impact
  3. Why is the financial cost so high
  4. Lack of Community Consultation


My significant questions

I have looked at the plans and the list of impacts that this new motorway will have as it cuts across the inner west from current M5 east exit to reach Haberfield. After assessing the impacts (which will be listed in many other submissions such as environment, health and social impact) my biggest questions are:

  1. Why is this road BISECTING these inner west suburbs and adding St Peters Interchange when another orbital option from current m5 east via Eastern Distributor far less impact?
  • There is already an industrialised corridor between the M5 to Haberfield via General Holmes Drive, Southern Cross Drive, Eastern Distributor, X city tunnel and Anzac Bridge.
  • CURRENTLY if a car is travelling from Parramatta to Airport this is the way they go.
  • M4 à (New M4 tunnel) à Haberfield à Anzac Bridge à X City Tunnel à Eastern Distributor à SX Drive à
  • IF someone going from Parramatta to Bexley they will not be using the proposed M5 tunnel they will cross through St Georges Rd.
  • Surely a huge amount could be saved if General Holmes Drive to Southern Cross Drive road is improved including that road mess outside Domestic Airport.

Westconnex (2)


  1. How does the Westconnex aid transportation to Port Botany? (why not fix up the train transport)
  2. Why does the project ignore alternatives for freight transportation and support unsustainable road freight. Surely the money would be better spent fixing up the FREIGHT train line so it can operate during the day and a solution is found so that it avoids commuter train line.

I strongly object to the M5 extension that ends up at St Peters Interchange because:

  • There is no logic to the road cutting through the inner west as a means to take Western Sydney traffic to airport or heavy trucks to the Port.
  • There is no logic why $500m per km of new road formed for freight to port botany when there is a freight train line that just needs a fix so can be used in the day.
  • The expense is enormous ($500m per km) for the listed benefit of travel time improvement of 1km per hour and the addition of thousands of new cars to suburban roads.
  • The project will remove 14,000 hectares of Sydney Park and place this special green space in the inner city amongst a roads dystopia.
  • The project lacks transparency and accountability and from a government perspective is without robust financial justification OR evaluation of alternatives to achieve the supposed objectives:
    • ORBITAL ROAD round Sydney… why bisect inner west and not improve General Holmes Drive to Eastern Distributor link?
    • CITIZEN TRANSPORTATION – Where is evaluation of alternatives such as improvement to trains, train parking hubs, public transport, and cycle ways?

I searched the EIS but could not find:

  • Any independent assessment of Greenhouse emission contribution – project claims, using an unsound methodology it will prevent $832 million of greenhouse gas pollution from being generated in spite of a forecast of 31% increase in traffic.
  • Any reference to cumulative impact – the synergies of all the individual damage.
  • Where is the noise modelling for residents living in two storey homes along its perimeter?
  • Where is reference to justification for exceeding national guidelines of PM2.5 particles?
  • Where is the cumulative impact assessment of loss of green space such as at Sydney Park?
  • How can the EIS admit that there is a risk of health impacts, including on users of Sydney Park, but delay information about its mitigation until after planning approvals?
  • Where is the independent assessment of the traffic modelling?
  • Evidence of Benefits? Westconnex is meant to go to the Port, take heavy traffic there. But it doesn’t? Does this mean that Westconnex fails to deliver its key objective?

MY OTHER CONCERNS  – and which 11 tomes of Environmental Impact Statement delivered the week before Xmas do not answer – 

Cumulative Impact

Where I can find an integrated assessment that looks at the cumulative impact of WestConnex? At the moment each bit of the environmental, social, cultural and economic damage is looked at in isolation. If a piece of fabric had so many rips it would be considered ruined.

Aside from the question of WHY this road has to bisect the inner west there is the long list of environmental and social impact it will have.

  • Increase of traffic from 7000 to 61,000 on Euston Rd/ McEvoy Street which will turn into 6 lane road. When RMS asked what will happen to the cars at end of 6 lanes or what their destination is the response was that “they will disperse”. Do they mean like Water Vapour? ACTION – A holistic planning needed of where and why those cars are going to Alexandria? AND why a route that takes them via Southern X Drive is not possible?

Why is the financial cost so high?

The cost of Westconnex is $500m PER square kilometre (total project cost $16.8bn divided by 33km of new roads). Surely a huge amount could be saved if General Holmes Drive to Southern Cross Drive road is improved including that road mess outside Domestic Airport.

Lack of Community Consultation

As I wade through the documents and the public discussion and the hundreds of question I feel that the NSW government and the private enterprises that will benefit from these roads are treating regular citizens like me as peasants: using institutional power to squash our knowledge; silencing our ability to critique. Yet this will be the largest transfer of public money to private companies in the history of NSW. That public money comes from tax payers paying their taxes… in all likelihood the opposite of assumed tax avoidance of the private companies who will benefit from the project.

Westconnex is not a “lie back and think of the economy” project.  Professor Newman, a distinguished academic, was once on the board of Infrastructure Australia. He says the twenty-first century cities is about building cities not roads. He says, Westconnex has no strategic purpose for economic productivity or sustainability in a knowledge economy. Instead it’s public transport, cycling and walking that are most important.

Just as a couple of final notes:

Our family of 5 uses public transport or cycling for most journeys including to and from work and so are never by traffic snarls. As the kids get older cycling is becoming more hazardous due to them not being allowed to ride on footpaths and the cycle snarls queuing at traffic lights (case in point is cnr Bourke Road and Huntley Street where sometimes 30 bikes and pedestrians waiting to cross road – all merging onto a footpath as no cycleway) My objection is the lack of logic and explanation for the M5 extension and bisecting of the inner west and adding tens of thousands of cars onto the roads. Research shows that more roads bring more cars. Where are the public transport solutions? Where are the safe separated cycleways?

I urge a full Federal audit of WestConnex.  This is the largest public transfer of money into private hands ever.

Yours sincerely

Isabel McIntosh

Alexandria NSW 2015

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