BY TOMMY BOUTROS
A pile of landfill at St Peters interchange, where WestConnex works continue, is emitting a foul odour much to the chagrin of locals.
Kids are being forced to stay inside, while other locals have reported trouble sleeping and going on with day to day activities because of the smell.
A proposed parkland and scenic lookout spot are set to be built upon the mountainous landfill, regardless of no one knowing what is contained within the pile. All that is known is that it has come from the waste dump at Alexandria and has been sitting there for decades.
A top coating of soil, grass and a “protective membrane” will be applied to the trash heap in preparation for the proposed redevelopment.
A spokesperson from Sydney Motorway Corporation, representing WestConnex said that “An odour specialist continues to visit site on a daily basis, and when any smell or odour is present it does not pose a risk to human health or the environment.”
But sources say that if members of the community hadn’t complained about the smell, no one would be trying to fix it at all – although not much has been done yet.
Greens MP Jenny Leong echoed the sentiment, saying “It shouldn’t be up to the community to make individual complaints for the oversight of the contractors to kick in.”
In lieu of the current political and social climate regarding WestConnex, Pauline Lockie of the WestConnex Action Group has decided to run as an independent candidate in the upcoming Inner West Council elections.
The WAG has been hotly contesting the Westconnex roadworks for months, and constantly find themselves standing up for locals whose complaints go ignored by the government and councils.
Ms Lockie said the plans for a parkland on a waste site was another poor choice trying to be dressed up as positive.
“Knowing what we know about the impact of air and noise pollution, this won’t be a very pleasant place for any family to throw down a picnic rug and enjoy the space with their kids. This is being touted as a very big benefit for the community when it isn’t,”
Ms Lockie said removing the stench would be costly, which was probably why the government wanted to turn a blind eye to it.
“The cost of filtering the stack to remove over 90% of pollutants emitted has been estimated by the Public Health Association of Australia to be 5 cents per driver that uses the tollway. That would have a huge impact on how polluted the surrounding area would be, but obviously it’s not something the NSW government is considering, but it would certainly be something that I’d be pushing for [if elected],” she said.
Getting to the crux of why she has decided to run for council, Ms Lockie said “I think it’s really important, particularly since we have a new council and we are in the process of huge change. We need people on the council to genuinely represent the community. This is something I feel incredibly passionate about.”
“Westconnex has really let down the community [of the inner west], we are really feeling it in terms of destruction, disruption and the impact on our liveability.”
Ms Lockie is an inner west resident whose home was compulsorily acquired for the Westconnex some months ago.
The foul stench being emitted from the heap at St Peter’s interchange is just one of the many ways Westconnex has let the community down.
Multiple complaints have been made, with little to show for the trouble.
Constant community pressure, and people like Pauline Lockie continue to push for what is best for locals, which currently seems to be the only way to get through to people in power.