Author Archives: garyspeechley

Music Festival to protest destruction of Sydney Park for WasteCONnex tollway

This post is sourced from http://www.westconnexactiongroup.org.au/music_festival_protest_destruction_sydney_park_westconnex_tollway to inform members and friends of the Alexandria Residents’ Action Group.

THOUSANDS of people will flock to St Peters on the October Long Weekend to protest the destruction of Sydney Park and support the anti-WestConnex blockade.

The Save Sydney Park Festival is being organised by Reclaim The Streets (RTS) and WestCONnex Action Group (WAG), and will feature multiple stages. Local acts will play everything from Chicago house to UK garage, hip hop, jungle, and drum and bass.

The family-friendly festival will be held on the Euston Road side of Sydney Park, which residents have occupied around the clock since 19 September to prevent the destruction of hundreds of trees for WestConnex. It will start at 1pm on Saturday 1 October and end at sunset.

“Where we see a park, Casino Mike sees an opportunity to sell us out,” said RTS spokesperson James Loch.

“The Baird government cares only for the profits of their major donors, but we care about every inch of our precious green space.

“If money grew on trees, you can bet they wouldn’t be cutting them down in Sydney Park.

“We will not let them trade in our beautiful park for their dirty toll road,” said Mr Loch.

“If Mike Baird gets his way, over 14,000 square metres of Sydney Park and hundreds of trees in it will be destroyed for WestConnex,” said WAG spokesperson Janet Dandy-Ward.

“They’re planning to ‘replace’ these devastating losses with what may be the world’s worst park: some ‘green space’ under the massive flyovers and unfiltered pollution stacks of the monstrous St Peters Interchange.

“The community has had enough of Mike Baird selling us out to his toll road mates, and we’re delighted to team up with Reclaim the Streets again to help stop WestConnex,” said Ms Dandy-Ward.

Contacts: James Loch 0403 601 511, Amanda Sordes 0479 101 272

Poster artwork available on request. Facebook event page: bit.ly/savesydparkfest

Reclaim The Streets has a long history of large, colourful protest festivals. View photos of previous events on Facebook at bit.ly/rtsalbum1, bit.ly/rtsalbum2, bit.ly/rtsalbum3 and bit.ly/rtsalbum4

Save Sydney Park Festival poster

Continue reading

Confirming the future of “The Alex”

This message was today received from the City of Sydney:
28-Sep-2016

SITE: 35 HENDERSON ROAD , EVELEIGH  NSW  2015, 39 HENDERSON ROAD , EVELEIGH NSW  2015, 33 GARDEN STREET , EVELEIGH  NSW  2015, 31 GARDEN STREET , EVELEIGH NSW  2015

PROPOSAL: PROPOSED MIXED USE DEVELOPMENT ADJACENT TO AND WITHIN THE ALEXANDRIA HOTEL SITE. PROPOSAL INCLUDES RETAINING THE HOTEL USE FOR THE ALEXANDRIA HOTEL, INCLUDING A COURTYARD ADJACENT HENDERSON ROAD. AT THE REAR OF THE HOTEL, A 7 STOREY RESIDENTIAL FLAT BUILDING IS PROPOSED CONSISTING OF 26 UNITS, A GROUND FLOOR COMMERCIAL PREMISES FRONTING GARDEN STREET AND A COMMUNAL ROOFTOP TERRACE. SUBDIVISION OF CURRENT 4 LOTS INTO 2 LOTS IS ALSO PROPOSED. Continue reading

The Alex has been SAVED!!!

In astonishing news released today, it has been announced that plans to re-develop the Alexandria Hotel site have been scrapped.

The developers have walked away – tails between their legs – after selling the site to the Merivale group who plan to renovate the Alex and re-open it as a pub.

This is an ASTOUNDING victory for the residents of Alexandria who rallied, repeatedly, to save the Alex. The drive of people such as Ben and Michelle and countless other Alexandria residents shows that communities can achieve strong outcomes.

The drive and persistence shown by all has been memorable.

It could have been too easy to lie down after the first development proposal was rejected, and say “job done”. But developers are persistent beasts.

To rally again to reject the seven-storey proposal provided proof that Alexandrians are prepared to fight, HARD, for what they believe in.

The Alexandria Residents’ Action Group congratulates you all for your success today.

It’s an Alexandria “Castle” moment – and we hope one of many more to come.

Developers were clearly shown how the “vibe” of Alexandria works!

The community has had success in changing development outcomes, including the changed design of the Mitchell Road Auction Centre site, but winning against a consortium of Property Unit Trust investors to save the Alex is huge.

Merivale have created a website where we, as residents, are invited to contribute ideas and energy to the renovation of the Alex. Sign up here to get involved.

The Merivale press release document is here: Merivale saves The Alex.

The Alexandria Residents’ Action Group also would like to thank the staff of the City of Sydney who were able to secure an interim Heritage Order on the Alex and who engaged a legal team to include us, the residents, at the Land and Environment Court.

The fact that the legal team engaged us as residents and worked with us to have our objections and ideas reformulated to maximise our impact before the L&E Court is greatly appreciated, but also recognises that objections from communities like ours cannot be merely brushed aside as if coming from an anti-development ratbag fringe.

In other news, the pop-up kitchens that were announced last week have been dropped.

Council Elections: Candidates’ Forum – Wednesday 10th August

The City of Sydney Council Elections are to be held in September.

Wednesday 10th August is ARAG’s regular monthly meeting and once again we are teaming with REDwatch, Friends of Erskineville and Chippendale Residents’ Interest Group to host another Candidates’ Forum.

Be at the Alexandria Town Hall in Garden Street to hear the candidates speak on issues relevant to Alexandria, and to ask your questions. Be informed before you vote. Continue reading

Alexandria Hotel – another reprieve

Today, 4th August 2016 an on-site meeting of the Land and Environment Court was scheduled to hear residents’ objections in relation to the proposed seven-storey development for the beer garden of the Alexandria Hotel.

This latest tilt at windmills by the proponents aims to retain the hotel and the small beer garden on the western edge and to subdivide the land into two lots – one for the pub and the other for a seven-storey residential tower fronting Garden Street in the east, and a wider frontage to Vice Chancellors Oval to the west. Continue reading

The ‘westCONnex Payment Plan’

Just how much money is involved in paying for westCONnex?

The original business case for westCONnex stated a project cost of $10 billion.

An updated business case for westCONnex was released in November 2015.

So now, the stated project cost for westCONnex is $16.812 billion. That’s a massive cost blowout of 68.12%, and that’s before any project milestones have been achieved.

Expect the cost to blow out much further during the course of the project.

But how much, really, is $16.812 billion? Continue reading

ARAG’s Objection to the westCONnex ‘New M5’ EIS

ARAG today submitted its objection to the westCONnex ‘New M5’ Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

Submissions to the Planning Department in relation to this debacle of a project – $16.812 BILLION of your taxpayer dollars – close today.

ARAG’s PDF submission is enclosed here for you to download here: ARAG Submission – westCONnex M5 EIS.

Here’s hoping that somebody is listening.

If you’re quick, you can still submit your own objection. Feel free to copy / adapt from the information here, or visit A People’s M5 EIS on the embedded link.

Both our site and the M5EIS.org site contain links to direct you to the Department of Planning’s submission portal.

M5 EIS objection

Vanessa and I have just submitted our objection to the westCONnex M5 EIS. It is based largely on the NOwestCONnex template but raises additional points.

The enclosed PDF may be of interest to others still preparing their submissions.

20160126 – M5EIS Submission – Speechley – Knight

Vale Robyn Kemmis

The Alexandria Residents’ Action Group (ARAG) and residents of Alexandria are saddened by the news of the unexpected passing of Robyn Kemmis, Deputy Lord Mayor and a great friend of ARAG.

ARAG is a relatively new residents’ group and in our short time since formation Robyn has offered quiet counsel and unqualified support for us and the issues that affect Alexandria. Robyn always was accessible, knowledgeable and professional in her interactions with ARAG.

We always have been impressed by Robyn’s performance on Council – her calm and considered presentation of issues and representation of constituents’ concerns. Continue reading

M5 East Press Release

http://www.arag.org.au info@arag.org.au
Media Release – 01 Deceember 2015

WestCONnex M5 Interchange is a Crown of Thorns

Residents in Alexandria were horrified to see the plans for the M5 and the St Peters Interchange with its ‘Crown of Thorns’ concrete freeway arching over a ‘brand new park’ which given its close proximity to an unfiltered, filthy exhaust stack, doesn’t make it somewhere anyone will want to be.

Ben Aveling, Co-Convenor of the Alexandria Residents Action Group is dismayed at the spin and misinformation contained in the latest information release.
He said “it just beggars belief that anyone thinks that this is a good result for the people using the M5, let alone the people at the end of the road who will be left to deal with the massive increase in traffic.

There is no mention of the $26 daily tolls that people will have to pay, and no mention of reduced travel times over the whole journey. It’s just smoke stacks and mirrors.”

A closer inspection of the map reveals some other failings of the proposal:
• All traffic that needs to go into the city will need to find its way through McEvoy Streets, Mitchell Road and King Street, and this situation won’t improve if the M5 to M4 tunnel (which is unfunded) ever gets built. The only way into the city is via those three streets.
• 100,000 more cars a day are supposed to be using the M5 extension. This isn’t enough to make the toll road pay, but where are all the cars going to go? Anyone who has driven down those already crowded roads knows more traffic means slower travel times and more congestion.
• One of the off-ramps joins Gardeners Road which is already at capacity. Given that Gardeners Road goes from three lanes down to one after Botany Road, we are now stack filling an existing car park.

Even more laughable are the claims made in the four page brochure on the ‘New M5 – St Peters interchange’:
• ‘Returning local streets to local residents by removing through traffic and fixing local bottlenecks’. Unless WestCONnex has found a way to make 100,000+ cars a day evaporate, there is no evidence that WestCONnex has removed traffic – rather it has massively increased it, and created nightmare bottlenecks
• ‘Up to 49% reduction in travel time’ but if you read the small print, this only applies up to the King Georges Road interchange, so bad luck if you are using WestCONnex to get into the city!

“WestCONnex is a bad idea for Sydney. It puts roads ahead of public transport.

It comes at the cost of spending on schools, hospitals and other infrastructure and it creates more problems than it solves.” Ben Aveling said.

“We know it’s not a good deal. The Auditor General’s review of the Business Case back in December 2014 was damning. The Government won’t release the Business Case and that speaks volumes.”

We call on the government to halt all work on the M4 and M5, stop letting tenders and acquiring homes and businesses and release the business case.

Nothing less is satisfactory.”

For more information contact: Ben Aveling, Alexandria Residents Action Group 0407 228 240

The “Crown of Thorns” Interchange, just south of Sydney Park

Interchange

The EIS for the M5 East, thousands of pages of spin, numbers, graphs and diagrams, much of which has no basis in fact, now has been released – just in time for Christmas – with limited time for the public to read, assess, analyse and submit their comments to the government.

It is very cynical of the government to release such important documents over the Christmas holiday period.

Residents can get more information by visiting m5eis.org where community members from across Sydney will be posting their analyses and draft submissions for you to assess in submitting your objections to this wasteful road project. Visit the site regularly, as information will be upgraded regularly.