The Government has made a commitment to deliver light rail from Parramatta to Olympic Park to Strathfield. The Government was to release the preferred light rail routes by July/August 2016, but under questioning in Budget Estimates this week, the Minister indicated it would be early next year before the preferred routes are released. He gave no explanation for the delay. However, in the Sydney Morning Herald this week, it has been revealed that the Government is now considering extending the Metro to include a possible CBD to Parramatta route and that this will impact on the previous light rail announcement.
A tender for the business case for the light rail was finally advertised this week…
Transport for NSW is seeking to engage suitably experienced and qualified organisations interested in providing Professional Services for the development and delivery of a high quality final business case document which addresses both the transport and land use drivers for the Parramatta Light Rail Project.
Greater Sydney Commission (GSC) District Plans
I recently met with the GSC’s Central District Commissioner who indicated that the draft district plans would be released in November. I had a detailed discussion with her about plans for Burwood, Strathfield and North Strathfield/Homebush. In particular, I said I was concerned that plans for rezoning in Homebush, North Strathfield and on the Parramatta road side of Strathfield Station were progressing without consideration of the light rail route. I indicated this was not sensible and appropriate planning and that there needed to be an understanding of transport routes before any rezoning occurred. I indicated that these communities had now been waiting for more than two years for confirmation of the Government’s plan for rezoning and the route for light rail.
Parramatta Road Urban Transformation Plan
It is my understanding that that this plan is still being finalised and will be incorporated into the draft district plan to be released in November. As we know, this work has been completed without any consideration of the light rail route.
I believe this entire process is being mismanaged and the Government is essentially “making it up as it goes.” It’s also worth noting the business case and EIS for the Metro have yet to be released, but the Government is proceeding with the compulsory acquisition of more than 150 properties (see my Facebook and website for my comments on the compulsory acquisition process). The Government simply does not care how this shambolic process is impacting on communities – particularly North Strathfield and the Underwood road area of Homebush.
As an aside, the Masterplan for Sydney Olympic Park has now been delayed for almost 12 months. Of course this is connected to the delays with light rail and is impacting on any viable solution to the issues with the Australia Avenue roundabout.
In the meantime, the Government is progressing with Stage One of WestConnex. The widened section of the M4 is scheduled to be completed by early next year when a toll will be applied to the motorway. You can find out more information in the video below.
A further toll will apply to the M4 East tunnel from Homebush to Haberfield when the tunnel is completed in 2019. I am working with many residents adversely impacted by the tunnel construction.
I will let you know of any further developments, and please know I am acutely aware of the anxiety this entire process is creating. I am always happy to meet residents affected by these projects. You can contact my office my office on (02) 9747 1711 or firstname.lastname@example.org.