HAVE YOUR SAY

Beaches Link submissions close amid objections and calls for an extension

BENEFITS: Condamine Street is one of the streets to benefit from the Beaches Link, data in the environmental impact statement shows. Picture: Geoff Jones
BENEFITS: Condamine Street is one of the streets to benefit from the Beaches Link, data in the environmental impact statement shows. Picture: Geoff Jones

DRIED up waterways, toxic sludge, ventilation stacks near a school, traffic congestion, thousands of mature trees mulched and loss of natural habitat are among the submissions against the proposed Beaches Link.

The project's 11,000 page environmental impact statement (EIS) received 1405 submissions by deadline on Monday, but with final numbers still being collated that is expected to increase.

Northern Beaches Council made a 50-page submission which sought assurances on significant concerns about environmental, construction and intermodal transport impacts. Mayor Michael Regan said council and the community generally support the project, but have serious concerns that the NSW Government needs to address.

"The people of the northern beaches have waited far too long for efficient, reliable and sustainable transport solutions for our region, so it is vital what is delivered is right for our community," he said.

"Among some concerns raised in council's response are air quality, noise, heritage, bush and fauna preservation, and socioeconomic impacts that need to be resolved before the first sod is turned.

We have raised a range of issues of concern to our Balgowlah, Seaforth and Frenchs Forest residents and several general potential impacts the proponent needs to mitigate or amend."

Among some concerns raised in council's response are air quality, noise, heritage, bush and fauna preservation, and socioeconomic impacts that need to be resolved before the first sod is turned.

Mayor Michael Regan

Council's submission also called for consideration be given to: Impact on local roads; groundwater management issues and environmental impacts; emissions management and exhaust facilities and construction impacts on the local community.

The home of Balgowlah renter Jessica Hermosilla will be bulldozed for the Beaches Link and she made eight submissions.

GOING, GONE: The house Jessica Hermosilla rents on Dudley Street will be demolished for the Beaches Link. Picture: Dallas Kilponen

GOING, GONE: The house Jessica Hermosilla rents on Dudley Street will be demolished for the Beaches Link. Picture: Dallas Kilponen

"There's contradictory information in it and the whole process has been flawed," she said of the "overly technical" EIS. "You need a university degree or masters degree to interpret the data," she said.

Ms Hermosilla said the EIS had "gaping holes" and didn't mention the flow-on effect the Beaches Link would have on other roads.

Residents' concerns have also caught the attention of American model and actress Christie Brinkley who thanked Balgowlah resident Nicole Warner for speaking out about her environmental concerns on Instagram.

"When will we ever learn to respect Mother Nature and all sentient beings," she posted. "Thank you Nic for protecting your corner of our planet and for understanding we're all connected. We're just beginning to grasp the dangerous ramifications of destroying habitat."

There's contradictory information in it and the whole process has been flawed.

Balgowlah resident Jessica Hermosilla

Mrs Warner also put in a submission and said the Beaches Link was a "complete environmental disaster".

The EIS said that once constructed Beaches Link would bring faster, safer and more reliable journeys for road users between the northern beaches and centres across Greater Sydney.

The EIS said there will be less traffic on Mona Vale Road (-8 per cent) and Warringah Road (-23 per cent); with less congestion on Frenchs Forest Road, Condamine Street, Wakehurst Parkway and on Spit Bridge. It'll also shave 32 minutes off the drive from Manly to Macquarie Park, 38mins from Balgowlah to the CBD, 56mins from Dee Why to Sydney Airport, and 54mins from Frenchs Forest to Rozelle.

But some residents say it all comes at a price, with others questioning the accuracy of information in the EIS.

Terry le Roux, secretary of the Balgowlah Residents Group and the North Harbour Community Forum, accused the NSW Government of "exaggerating the future traffic in the area".

"If it takes us only 35 minutes to drive from Balgowlah to the city in the mornings at present, how is it that TfNSW can claim that in 2037 we will save 35 minutes to get to the city from Balgowlah? Something is not right," he said.

BIG READ: Terrey le Roux with the 14-volume, 10,000 page environmental impact statement.

BIG READ: Terrey le Roux with the 14-volume, 10,000 page environmental impact statement.

Mr le Roux said ventilation stacks outside Balgowlah Boys Campus have concerned many parents and residents.

"The EIS tells us that there will definitely be an increase in the level of air toxins in the atmosphere close to the stacks, 1.2 kilometres and below, but the 'modelling' tells the experts that not enough people will suffer medically as a result of the increase in air toxins to justify the expenditure on filtration," he said.

"We will only know how many additional people will develop cancer from the exposure to the additional air toxins from the stack in several years' time when the epidemiologists analyse the deaths of people who have lived in the area once the stacks were built and operating."

The EIS tells us that there will definitely be an increase in the level of air toxins in the atmosphere close to the stacks

Resident Terry le Roux

Mr le Roux said residents also fear that toxic sludge could drift with the tide from the Middle Harbour Crossing works onto Sandy Bay and the ocean pool at Clontarf. While Burnt Bridge Creek will become a "smelly stinky storm water drain" because the two tunnels will drain away the groundwater.

A Transport for NSW (TfNSW) spokesman said local knowledge is vital in building major infrastructure.

"The EIS has been on display for 61 days, with additional time for the Christmas break. This is in line with other major infrastructure projects such as the WestConnex M4-M5 Link, Western Harbour Tunnel and Warringah Freeway Upgrade," he said.

A Department of Planning, Industry and Environment spokeswoman said submissions will be made publicly available on the major projects website and TfNSW will provide a response to issues raised.

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