Non-Aboriginal heritage

Eds: This sample submission focuses on non-Aboriginal heritage impacts of Stage 3 WestCONnex. 

It’s written in the first person but you can easily change it for a group submission or use part of it for an information sheet. 

  • copy and paste whole or part of this submission for your own submission or share it with others
    use it to trigger your own ideas
    use some it and mix it with objections on other topics relevant to the EIS ( for example Social and Economic Impact).

When you have finished drafting a submission, here’s the link to our online submission. Remember you can make as many submissions as you like. 

Submission to WestConnex New M4/M5 EIS, project number SSI 16_7485

Destruction of heritage for WestConnex should be prohibited

The project directly affects five listed heritage items, including demolition of the stormwater canal at Rozelle. Twenty-one other statutory heritage items of State or local heritage significant would be subject to indirect impacts through vibration, settlement and visual setting. And directly affected nine individual buildings as assessed as being potential local heritage items. It is unacceptable that heritage items are removed or potentially damaged and the approval should prohibit such destruction.(Executive Summary xviii)

The heritage impacts of WestCONnex stage 3 need to be seen in the light of the appalling wholesale destruction that has already taken place in St Peters and Haberfield. Scores of houses and industrial buildings were torn down for tollways that will not solve traffic congestions. Always the cost of destruction is undervalued and the benefits of WestCONnex promoted. Whenever WestCONnex wants to tear down buildings or put them at risk it is backed by the EIS evaluation. This is not objective and it is not in the public interest.

I object strongly to AECOM’s approach to heritage. The methodology used is simply to describe heritage. If it interrupts the project plans, it simply must be destroyed. This is not an assessment at all. Plans to salvage items do have value but this value should not be used as a carrot  to justify the removal of buildings.

There has never been any proper assessment of the cumulative impacts on heritage of the WestCONnex project. The loss of heritage in Concord, Haberfield and St Peters has been on a large scale and now the Stage 3 EIS shows that the M$/M5 tunnel would further add to this loss.

I object to the assessment of the removal of buildings, other rail infrastructure and vegetation on the Rozelle Railway Yards being done in advance of this EIS.  The RMS environmental assessment process is not publicly accountable. These works were part of the WestConnex project and should have been assessed as part of Stage 3.

I specifically object to the removal of the lighting tower and the Port Authority Building. These items are of considerable local significance and are representative of the operation of the Rozelle Rail Yards in the first part of the 20th century. I do not agree with trashing industrial history when it could be put to good community use.

Easton Park has a long history and is part of an urban environment which is unusual in Sydney. The park needs to be assessed from a visual design point of view. It will be quite a different park when its view is changed to one of a large ventilation stack. The suggestion that it has been ‘saved’ needs to be considered in the light of the severe 5 years construction impacts and the reshaped urban environment.

I oppose the removal of further homes of Significance in either Haberfield or Ashfield. The level of destruction has already been appalling. Residents were led to expect that there would be no further construction impacts after the completion of the M4 East. The loss of further houses of the community will cause further distress within this community.

I note that in the area of Lilyfield Rd and Gordon Street, the work proposed which would include deep excavation that would result in major adverse impacts on archaeological remains, while other surface works would have localised impacts on archaeological remains that may be present. It is suggested that what are called ‘management measures’ would be carried out including the development of a Historical Archaeological Research Design  which would include an “assessment of any detailed design plans to develop a methodology and scope for a program of test excavation to determine the nature, condition and extent of potential archaeological remains.” This is completely unacceptable to me. The community will have no right to any input into this plan or access to independent expert advice. This is all part of an ‘approve now’, ‘research later’ approach that will lead to poorly planned unnecessary destruction, a loss of potential community history and understanding.

It is quite clear to me that insufficient research has been done on the archeology of the Rozelle Railway yards. This could be a valuable archeology site. Why has an EIS been put forward without the necessary research being done to further identify potential remains? No project should be approved on the basis of such an inadequate level of research.

The EIS admits that it is not even known what excavation would be undertaken at the White Bay Power station. I am particularly concerned about the old water channels and the southern penstock which are part of Sydney’s industrial heritage. How could an EIS for such a major project be put forward on this basis? It is fatuous to state that ” physical and indirect impacts on this heritage element should be avoided” and suggest that a future plan should be done. Why isn’t the need for excavation known? This raises great concerns about the ‘indicative only’ nature of the work that has been done before this EIS. Why is there such a rush? This EIS is not complete and should be rejected for that reason.

Please contact the People’s EIS if you have more to add here.