Following a motion moved by Greens Councillor Sylvie Ellsmore, Marrickville Council last night refused a request by WestConnex sub-contractors to access local roads to install underground electricity mains for the proposed St Peters Interchange.
Greens Councillor Sylvie Ellsmore said:
"This refusal means the State Government must now decide whether to override the democratic decision made by Marrickville Council and continue ignoring the growing community campaign opposing WestConnex.
"The massive tunnel and overpass at St Peters that is part of Stage 2 of WestConnex has no planning approval and should not be being built.
"This latest application by the WestConnex Delivery Authority to rip up Marrickville Council's roads and footpaths is not yet just "test" drilling. This is preparation works.
"Last night Marrickville Council chose to stand with residents, some of whom are out there every week putting their bodies on the line to stop this project. With the introduction of the Baird anti-protest laws these residents now risk up to 7 years in prison for peacefully protesting.
"This latest refusal sends another strong message to the State Government that Marrickville Council and the residents oppose this project. We must continue to do whatever we can to prevent WestConnex from proceeding," Clr Ellsmore said.
Greens NSW WestConnex spokesperson and Member for Newtown Jenny Leong said:
"Clr Ellsmore and Marrickville Council last night showed strong solidarity with all the members of the community opposing the WestConnex tollroad project.
"Residents and community groups made over 12,000 submissions about this aspect of the WestConnex which almost universally condemn this project. Many call for the St Peters component of the works to be completely reshaped.
"The only reason contractors would be applying to dig up streets and lay cables before any formal planning approval has been granted is if the Baird Liberal Government has no intention of genuinely considering the submissions from the community about this stage of the project," she said.
The proposed route of the new underground mains would have required ripping up Unwins Bridge Road, Silver Street, Edith Lane, Edith Street, Roberts Street, Roberts Lane, Mary St and Princes Hwy. Works were to involve both footpath and road pavement openings and restorations.
A map of the works can be found at page 259 of the Council business papers. The areas include those that have already been the subject of obstruction and blockading by residents.
The application from WestConnex subcontractor UEA came to the full elected Council because of an earlier Greens motion which removed the delegated ability of staff to issue any approvals to WestConnex.
The report to the 5 April 2016 IPES meeting (Item 3) advised that the Roads and Maritime Service made it a condition of these latest works that Council provide road access approval.
The motion passed by Council on 5 April 2016 stated:
1. Refuses to grant a Road Operating Permit for the installation of underground electricity mains to service the Westconnex interchange site at St Peters on the grounds that:
a) There is no planning approval for WestConnex New M5 Stage 2; and
b) Council is opposed to the WestConnex project.
2. Advises WestConnex and relevant known sub-contractors that Council will consider future applications made after such time as the project is been approved and key details are known, if in fact it is approved in the future.
3. Issues a statement informing residents and the community of its decision, and noting that the State Government is overriding the wishes of Council if it decides to progress with the works.
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