Sunday, April 29, 2012


It seems that even really worthwhile projects like the North West Rail Link could mean the loss of more of our local bushland.

NWRL propose to build an emergency access facility next to Cheltenham Oval on the site of the netball courts. The purpose of the facility is to allow access in the event of an emergency in the rail tunnel between Epping and Franklin Road.

There are two options under consideration in the EIS for the access of heavy construction vehicles to the site. One is to use the M2 and, according to engineering advice, this should be possible by widening the breakdown lane from 2m to 3m for 150m to allow trucks to enter and 150m to leave the site safely. Only about 16 truck movements a day are predicted for the construction of the access tunnel.

The other option is to build a new paved road through the bushland reserve to Kirkham St, a distance of approximately 400m, back onto the local road system. Once construction is complete the new road would only be used for maintenance or in the event of an emergency in the tunnel. In the event of an emergency it would seem to be of greater value to have the choice of direct access to the M2 both to get emergency vehicles quickly to the site and to take any injured passengers to hospital.

The bushland in question is Blackbutt Gully forest in good condition. It was gazetted reserve over 100 years ago and remained intact until 1995 when the southern edge near Devlins Creek was taken for the building of the M2. This is some of the best bushland in the area, much enjoyed by both the local and wider community. A hazard reduction burn carried out on part of this bushland in January 2011 has produced spectacular regeneration and has been of great benefit to the preservation of biodiversity in our area. While the loss of the bushland immediately adjacent to the site might be accepted, it would be a much bigger loss for even more of this bushland to be taken for yet another road.

Please write a short submission to help prevent the loss of more of our precious bushland.

You can view the full EIS 1 and its accompanying documents on the Department of Planning website: or go to

Submissions can be made until 21st May 2012. They must be include your name and address. The application number (SSI-5100). A brief statement on whether you support or object to the project and the reason why you object to the proposal.

Submissions can be emailed to
On the website:
Faxed to 02 9228 6355
Posted to: Major Projects Assessment, Department of Planning and Infrastructure, GPO Box 39, Sydney NSW 2001.

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