Returning Local Streets To Local Communities

NORTHCONNEX  –  AN  OPEN  LETTER

To Whom It May Concern

 The above letterhead is a picture of part of the hoarding that surrounded the NorthConnex tunnel construction compounds along Pennant Hills Road. The hoardings were refreshed after three years and this message was deleted in the process – why? The “return of local streets to local communities” was one of the eight key benefits / features in the NorthConnex promotional material presented in the name of the Australian Government, the NSW Government and Transurban. With the alignment of the NorthConnex tunnel running under Pennant Hills, Thornleigh and Normanhurst is it reasonable for these communities to expect to benefit in terms of relief from non-local traffic on their streets – surely yes! But who is accountable for the delivery of this benefit? 

We, the undersigned, first raised this question with NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) in 2016, only to find that there was no mention of “local streets” in all the NorthConnex project documentation and key local streets such as The Comenarra and Yarrara Road although designated ‘regional roads’ and part funded by RMS due to their network significance were not included in the projects extensive road / traffic studies. But, under the NSW Government Planning Approval RMS, in consultation with local Councils, is responsible for Road Network Performance Reviews 12 months and 5 years out from the commencement of tunnel operations. So the question is – will our “local streets” be included in these reviews?

RMS have made it clear that its responsibility with respect to road performance assessment is limited to State Roads only, and that local Councils are responsible for all local road considerations in this context. Hornsby Council have taken a position of ‘wait and see’ pending the results of the first RMS review in 2020/21 thus negating the prospect of any meaningful before / after local road traffic comparisons. Will the gap between these two positions leave local communities with the NorthConnex promise of ‘returning local streets to local communities’ falling through the cracks of government? Local MPs, State and Federal, have been long time champions of NorthConnex including of its ‘local streets’ benefit. Will they act to make it happen, or was it always nothing more than marketing spin?

Silence is a losing strategy!

For your support and further information contact:

Brian Ash Pennant Hills bampash(at)bigpond.com
Bill Aitken Normanhurst chrbil2120(at)gmail.com
Marcia Horvai Pennant Hills gmhorvai(at)bigpond.com
Margaret Murray Thornleigh castlemurray(at)gmail.com

November 1, 2018

/ ojh