Mayor Zoë Baker calls for a new EIS in response to major changes to the Western Harbour Tunnel.
A full and comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is urgently required to assess the changed Western Harbour Tunnel construction methodology announced by the State Government.
The Government has awarded a $4.24 billion contract to ACCIONA to bore the tunnel under the seabed, following concerns that the planned Immersed Tube Tunnel would stir up toxic sediment and kill marine life.
While it is gratifying that reason has finally prevailed, and Berrys Bay appears to have a reprieve, we know from experience that the devil is in the detail and once again none has been provided.
The North Sydney community is left with a myriad of questions. Will the new tunnel require additional pollution stacks or vents, and if so, where will they be located? Will the tunnel follow the existing route or will the route need to be modified to allow for a safe tunnel gradient?
What will be the impact of the Roadhead entry points on Cammeray and North Sydney? Will the spill continue to be removed by barge, or will it be trucked out from the entry points, with consequences for local roads?
The Member for North Shore has announced that 1.9 hectares of foreshore land at Berrys Bay will be returned to the community and it would be churlish not to welcome that announcement. But the land is industrial land that needs extensive rehabilitation. This was to have been paid for as part of the tunnel site remediation. Is there a plan for this now?
Announcing the signing of a contract of that magnitude before any of the details are released or their impact assessed is a reflection of the contempt this Government has for local communities and their well being. I would like to rejoice for Berrys Bay, but how can we do so when we don’t know whether the change in tunnel plan will result in a worse outcome for residents in other areas.
An EIS exists in law to ensure that impacts are teased out before projects begin. With such a significant change to the project, a new EIS is a necessity, not an optional extra.
Mayor Zoë Baker