Supporters of the shelved pedestrian corridor in the Inner West convened on the steps of the NSW parliament yesterday to present a petition and ignite a debate within the House.
Community group Friends of the GreenWay met with local councillors at 11am on Wednesday, February 15 to present MPs Carmel Tebbutt (Member for Marrickville), Linda Burney (Member for Canterbury), Jamie Parker (Member for Balmain) and Charles Casuscelli (Member for Strathfield) with a petition of over 10,000 signatures.
The Minister for Transport Gladys Berejiklian announced a deferral of the GreenWay last September, scrapping the concurrent construction of the light rail extension and the pathway. But community members fear the project’s axing will eventuate from the deferral.
Marrickville Greens councillor Peter Olive said the government’s deferral was financially irresponsible. “It’s more efficient to construct it at the same time as the light rail since it prevents there from being two periods of disruption.
Residents from Strathfield, Summer Hill, Enmore, Marrickville, Dulwich Hill, Lilyfield and Leichhardt have signed the petition.
Friends of the GreenWay spokesperson Jud Agius said the proposed GreenWay has been 10 years in the making. “We’ve had bipartisan support from all across Sydney.”
“This is the first sitting week of Parliament and we wanted to hit the ground running this year.”
The NSW Liberal government’s projected cost of the cycling and pedestrian pathway is $37 million.
The Transport Minister said previous cost estimates were unrealistic. “Labor’s costing and timeframe for delivery was done without the proper transport planning; it did not accurately reflect the amount of work required to deliver both projects.”
Mr Agius said: “[The government] has never sat down with us to explain why it costs so much. They won’t talk to us or anyone at the councils, they’ve just stone-walled.”
He said there has been no community consultation on the GreenWay or light rail plans in 18 months. “[NSW Transport] only sends short updates.”
Ms Berejiklian said: “The Government will ensure the construction of the Inner West Light Rail Extension will make allowance for potential future construction of the Greenway shared path as part of a wider active transport strategy.”
As part of the extension, eight light rail stations have been planned including Leichhardt North, Hawthorne, Marion, Taverners Hill, Lewisham West, Waratah Mills, Arlington, Dulwich Grove and a new interchange at Dulwich Hill.
The Transport Minister said the department is seeking tenders for the design and construction of the light rail.
“Community feedback will be sought on the design of the stops and access points in the coming months,” Ms Berejiklian said.
However, the department has yet to announce planned community involvement with relation to the GreenWay. . Community members will take part in a fun ride from Lillyfield to Dulwich Hill on Sunday, February 26 at 10.30am to bolster support.