On this episode of The Drive Home to Hawkesbury, Rachael speaks with Megan Lawrence representative from Hawkesbury BLOR Corridor Action Group (BLORCAG) on the developments of the proposed Bells Line of Road Castlereagh corridor.
BLORCAG says the proposed motorway aims to destroy the beautiful valley along with other natural, heritage and historical areas.
I Live, Love, Hawkesbury and can’t wait to get into today’s episode. Please share this community link and join us for the open discussion, thank you.
I’m Rachael Goldsworthy and welcome to The Drive Home to Hawkesbury, where I believe every home has a story and I love sharing those stories on real estate in the Hawkesbury with you. Here we share the best ways to add value to your property, how to avoid the common mistakes people make when buying and selling property, and how to get the maximum return on your investment with a focus on supporting local business.
I live, love Hawkesbury and can’t wait to get into today’s episode with you. Let’s get started.
Good morning, good afternoon, or good evening, depending on what time you’re watching this video. I’m Rachel Goldsworthy on the Drive Home to Hawkesbury, a local real estate agent in the Hawkesbury and joined by Megan Lawrence.
How are you?
That’s good. Just wanted to catch up with everybody and I guess have a bit of a chat in and around what’s actually happening with the Hawkesbury and what people are doing in and around the Bells Line of Road.
Yeah, that’s it. Tell me. This is the picture that I’ve got, that has been advertised out there.
Actually, let’s start there because you’ve just introduced me as someone from the Bells Line of Road. Coincidentally, I don’t live on the Bells Line of Road. I live on the pink line, which you can see from there, is some distance away from the Bells Line of Road. I now live under the Bells Line of Road corridor or proposed corridor.
That’s the beginning of this. The naming is problematic. The greater area thinks this is all about what’s happening on the Bells Line of Road, which is green there, as I’ve said, the Bells Line of Road corridor.
Okay. Let’s have a look at this then. As you can see, the green line here, that’s actually the Bells Line of Road. Then, it crosses over what the corridor is in the red line there.
For those people that are looking at it now, as Megan said, it can be a little bit confusing because we’re looking at it from the point of view of where the location is but just for the people that don’t know, you may be a local, you may have heard about it but equally, you may not know. Where’s it start, where does it finish, and what’s involved with that?
Okay. It’s a proposed corridor that runs from the other side of Kurrajong Heights. It goes through a tunnel underneath Kurrajong Heights, pops out on the other side … You might want to hold that map up while I’m talking. … at Kurrajong Heights, then swings back around and crosses the existing Bells Line of Road up near the Café on Bellbrid Hill. Then, comes down Baddey’s Lane 00:02:28], runs as you can see then in a diagonal trajectory down to Yarramundi so it goes through Baddey’s Lane, it goes through Willow there.
Baddey’s Lane is at the top and then …
Then, the Willows area in behind the church on Grose Vale Road. It crosses Grose Vale Road near the roundabout, above Pattersons Lane, goes along through those lovely properties through there, crosses over again on Grose Vale Road in the vicinity of the base of the road going out to Boyne Mountain Road near all goes then runs across, continuing in that going along line through the top of Cabbage Tree Road, straight down through Grose View Public School, the back of that and then continues on down through Grose Vale to where it crosses the Yarramundi, which is a number of properties up, a significant distance from nature Reserve.
This has nothing to do with any form of conversations that have been held about what’s happening in Nauvie Reserve. We don’t have any answers on that by the way, as a local traffic solution. This is a corridor that is being proposed as a long-term road. That’s part of the problem.
Then, you talk about building it for 50 years.
Yeah. There’s obviously options available, looking on the screen because we’re a bit behind but yeah, there’s options available to people but there was five options originally.
No. Actually, there’s many more than that. If you look at the SEA, Transport for New South Wales came up. They told me yesterday, day before yesterday, they went to a meeting, that there are hundreds of options were put forward. Once they fed all their data into the quantum programme and they come up with a number of options. There was a long list and there was a short list. Then, there was a third list that are five, which as we understand it, aren’t the ones in the SEA that was booked for cabinet. They decided ours. That’s what they put out as a proposed corridor.
That all makes it sound like there was a lot of thinking and planning and costing and all the rest of it behind it. There is none of those things. This is a draught document that supports a proposal. It’s not a document that can be prosecuted in any way. It is a proposal.
Just to clarify what that means. It means there is no actual environmental impact statement. There has been no work done on what lies in the corridor. No work on koalas. No work on platypus. No work on anything with very endangered plants. Plant communities that are actually covered by other government legislation. No knowledge about any of that that’s in the corridor.
They’ve done no structural designs. They’ve done no social impact studies. They’ve done no heritage studies that the average, settlement. For our side of the river, this is a proposal that is not thought out, costed. It’s not decided that this is even buildable within the finances that would be suitable to be applied to make the end date.
They said to us the other day, “You throw enough money at anything and you can build it.” Sure. That’s true but if you’re looking for an outcome that is going to meet the need and it’s going to be done in a costly and well-managed way, this isn’t it. This proposal is not it.
Talking about the proposal, going through some of the documents, I believe you received a letter with something similar to that …
… which had a photograph of the proposal …
That’s it. March 26th.
… on March 26th of the year. How did that happen? What happened as a result of people receiving their letters, and what did you do when you received your letter?
Okay. I’m property owner within the corridor. My property is partially effected, so about 50%, about 10 acres is affected. I would happen to be in my driveway at 10 o’clock in the morning on March 26th. Two fellows walked in the door and said, “You Megan Lawrence?” I said, “Yes.” They handed me an envelope. They said, “You may have heard about the corridor announcement this morning.” Actually, I had heard about, just briefly, I walked in and out of the kitchen and heard it on the radio. Didn’t have any clue that it applied to me in any way and opened the envelope. There’s a picture of my property just like that with the yellow cross hatching and some pink lines going through it.
As you can see, there’s no bigger picture of what’s happening there. I had no idea of where it was going. I did ask the fellows that gave me the letter, “Okay, can you tell me who had … Are my neighbours are affected? Where are you going after you leave my driveway?” They wouldn’t even tell me that.
The idea that the beginning of this engagement with Transport New South Wales has been started from the very beginning in any way that has helped private land owners, I would refute very loudly. Oh, I had because I actually looked at the letters that I had. There was nothing online that I could find. Maybe there was something but I would say there was nothing online that morning.
I jumped in the car and looked at the map to see where I thought it was going and I went and spoke to a few neighbours that were home who knew nothing about it because they didn’t happen to be in their driveways at the time. Yeah. That’s gone from there, basically.
Yeah. It’s an interesting proposal. It started a few years earlier …
Yes, that’s what the SEA says. They did hold some public consultation sessions, which, again, I didn’t know anything about those. I don’t live one on Bells Line of Road but I do remember seeing something. It was in a local paper or somewhere that said that there was something going on where you could go and have a chat about what was proposed for Bells Line of Road.
I don’t live on Bells Line of Road so I didn’t bother to go, which, yes, okay, I should have had my civic duty hat on but given that I live numbers of kilometres away from Bells Line of Road, I had no clue that what they were talking about was anything to do with me.
Because you can look at that diagram and see the green and the red lines as where Bells Line of Road is. The green line. Then, the corridor is actually the red line that’s coming through, so completely different. Sometimes, I think you’re quite right, Megan, that could be some confusion in and around this, so what it is, whether its people are affected by it or not affected by it and possibly what’s happened in this case but …
But actually, let’s go back to what actually happens, so, no, I didn’t turn up because I didn’t know that it was for me but we’ve now spoken to a number of people that were involved in those sessions. There were very few people, very few people involved.
The documentation that was shown at the time was nothing like that. I was shown a picture of Bells Line of Road with a large green glob put over and I mean large. It was the whole of greater Kurrajong and the other side of Bells Line of Road. I didn’t happen to be from here, but seriously, it was a large green blob. They were now say, “Tell us what you think about it.”
That is not genuine, real, public consultation. If you ask the wrong questions, you’re going to get the wrong answers. If you’re going to have disingenuous attempts at public consultation like that, don’t come back to us with a letter on March 26th and say, “Oh, but we asked the community about this.” No. I’m sorry. Nothing that went on before March 26th has been effective or, in my opinion, genuine attempt at public consultation.
Just, can I leave this here, too? If that is what New South Wales Transport thinks is adequate public consultation, this process has done nothing else but giving a resounding refusal of that. We would disagree with that statement on every level.
If they were to consult the public in a more reasonable and, I guess, open manner, how would you like to see them or how would the group like to see that be done?
Actually, let’s go back further. If you were going to put forward a proposal for anything for infrastructure in New South Wales, let’s start from there. You will need to go and talk to the people that are managing like those local communities where their infrastructure is going to be put, which I would add councils, because the first person you would go and talk to about one. What you’d like to do, you’d need to determine the need for what you want to do. You’d have to have a little bit how that’s going to effect the people locally. Talk to them about what you’re trying to do in terms of the greater good for the state but make sure that you’re aware of the short, medium, and long-term needs of the locals, the greater community, the broader community again, and then the state. Then, be very clear about if you’re planning for the future, what version of the future you’re talking about. Don’t just use big terms like the future. Tell us right back at the very beginning what your vision as in this is a governmental vision of just what the future looks like.
I have to tell you, having read about this in the last six weeks. I’ve read a lot and I’ve spent a lot of time talking to the people in the southern parts of this, the LSO. The sort of things that we’re getting a picture of is a vote that’s designed to carry large quantities, for example, of things like coal trucks. I don’t know but they’re not part of my 20 year vision at all. Just as an example of where we’re coming from, the process, get it right back to the beginning there and be up front.
Then, I might add, start looking at who’s coming to ask you the questions, because if it’s coming from a body like the Greater Sydney Commission, get used to the word quango, quasi-autonomous non-government organisation. That’s a new term we’re organised to understand. Ask yourself, “Who’s talking to me? Did I elect any of them? Are they answerable to me and this agenda that they’re pushing?” You can ask that from your own personal viewpoint. You might like what you see but if you don’t, then start looking at who’s on those bodies and who’s agenda is being pushed. Ask yourself what does it mean for me? That’s where planning starts from my point of view. Don’t start coming back to me with another crayon line on a map. It goes back to that.
Yeah. It’s really interesting the way in which they have or have not consulted with the process. I think there’s a lot of passion behind what you say. There’s a lot of discussion around it. I feel that a lot of people are affected by or potentially affected by the corridor and the changes that are coming. I think one thing’s for certain. There’s always change in life but I guess there’s ways in which it can be …
Okay, just put aside what I’ve just said. The other way and now, they’re on the ground and getting your letter. Even if you agree and you think that proposal’s okay and you think, “All right, they might have a far lot to go. You want my land. I’d like to go.” Come to the consultation session with real legislation that offers those people an opportunity to get out when they want with dignity, with a fair price for their property that allows them to go buy another property in the same area, if they wish. Their children go to the same schools. They get to stick in the same jobs. If they want to go somewhere else, great, but don’t come to them with legislation that doesn’t allow them to get out under any circumstances before the government wants your land for any reason other than hardship.
While you’re at it, give us a definition of hardship that we can lean on because there’s nothing on the table for that now. That’s causing one of the biggest problems out there. People have ripped out from underneath them and no one will answer their questions on what it means. Who they approach, when they approach, what’s available, under what terms can they get it? There is nothing coming back to us. It’s been six weeks since those letters were put out. There are no answers that can be relied on legally coming back to us from anywhere.
Tell me, coming back to the basics, what is the action group and how can people get involved with it? Who are they? Are they residents? Are they people abroad? Are they people that have had other experiences with roads? How can they get involved with the people that are online?
Okay. Our group is literally a group of people that got together after they got their letter. There are people in our group that got a letter. They’re in the corridor. They’re people that live beside the corridor and they getting nothing in this, I have to tell you. At least we’ve got these questions to be asking. The people who live on the side had no legislative right to anything anywhere in this process apart from right at the end of the market in their condition. They’ll be soundproofing in 50 years time. They get nothing so there’s those in there.
Then, in terms of the Facebook page that has come from nowhere, there’s …
Let’s put that up on the screen there.
Okay is the group. There are people coming on there that have been involved in and people that are telling us all about their experience. We’ve covered their position in New South Wales. It’s not great. There are people that have been struggling and looking at this whole big picture under the banner of an airport group fighting, asking questions about, valid questions.
While we’re talking to Hawkesbury, we need to be asking big questions about what their airport means for us because I hadn’t looked at that previously but I’ve been told recently that it’s going to operate for 24 hours. In other words, we get no purview. One of the major flight paths is coming down the Grose Valley. Yeah. I’ve read about that in the middle of all this as well. Most of us don’t know about that.
There’d been some really interesting groups coming forward with information for us. While you’re looking at your road, you might want to look at what the airport means for you. Of course, this infrastructure is all about servicing the airports. This isn’t just something that popped up from nowhere. Once a decision was made to plunk an airport in the back of Western Sydney, everyone on the OSO and the Bells Line of Road corridor because collateral damage.
Yes. Back to the core group that you have. What are we pushing for?
Okay. Our key message is withdraw this proposal. This proposal has been barely thought out. It’s not planned. It’s not designed. They have no idea what’s in our area west of the river or of the points that I went through previously, so withdraw this proposal. You do not have the basis or the past practise for, frankly, since March 26th, to be going forward with this with any credibility. We have no confidence in New South Wales Transport’s ability to go further with this proposal well or competently.
Withdraw this proposal, give everybody on the ground a chance to take a breather, going back to our local council and other local councils. We’re talking about our situation. Go back to our local council and start to consult from the ground up. A local council passed a resolution recently about their stance on this. That is exactly what they’re asking for.
Because there was a meeting there this week. Essentially it was fairly busy meeting, it way, eh?
It was. It was.
There was a lot of people in support and a lot of people wanting to know what’s going on. A lot of people potentially against …
Actually, no. It was unanimously supported by all the counsellors so it was really nice to see our local council coming together and supporting what is going on for.
Not only what’s happening to us now, but looking for short, medium, and long-term solutions to what our problems are. We all sit in traffic every afternoon. We’ve got lots of time to think about this. I have to tell you, yeah, look to our local council to get our voice out there. They have the data. They have the history. They have to knowledge. They have the stakeholder groups in the community of which we are one now to get the answers on this to make the solutions, to suggest and work on the solutions, that they’re going to solve things for the Hawkesbury.
Having someone like Lucy Turnbull and her Greater Sydney Commission walk on in, and she probably never been here and tell us that, “By the way, this is what you’re getting and you’re not getting it for 50 years,” I’m not happy about that.
It’s great to have the support of the local council. We will be having some of the representatives from the council on air as well, just to get their thoughts and how they can support, how they can help and what they
Mary Lyons-Buckett made a very, very wise and well-based statement the other night in council. I have to say that, as a general statement, BLORCAG is behind her 100%, I think she has a really good picture of what’s happening. She has a very good picture of what she’d like to do with the council, and she has the information to back her up and the knowledge.
Yes. No, and it’s great. It’s great to have the support of the local people and also the local constituents and the local council, because without that, we can’t
The thing is, that’s why we have governmental structure like that. We had counsellors there for all the bigger parts of government to be able to refer to to get the information they need to do it properly.
They’re coming in over the top with a quango, quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisation, doesn’t work. It isn’t working. It doesn’t work.
We’ve got some people online. If anybody’s got any questions for me, I’ll be happy to take those live so you can just punch those questions in for us and we can see that in the comments. Happy to bring those forward but with the proposed corridor, 192 kilometres, I think, that they’re talking about in the meeting the other night, who do you think out of our area, what sort of people is it affecting? Does it affect farms, does it affect individuals, does it affect families that have been there for years and years?
All of the above. Then, if we look at the people that are directly in the line of the corridor, yes, the majority of the people in the corridor are small 5 to 10-acre block homes. Some have been there for many years. Some who’ve recently arrived. Certainly, from what we understand, the data that was fed into the quantum programme, they came up with this idea as part of the process of it goes. They were looking for rural residential rated land. That was land that they were looking for to put it through. Then, whosever agenda that is coming from, I’ve got some more information on that, too, because to me, it seems to be in direct contradiction to the liberal parties. Ideas about individuals, working hard, buying land.
The idea that residential is, it’s okay to target them, yes? Where’s that idea coming from? Is it coming out Transport New South Wales? I would genuinely like to know who decided that that land is okay to use when there is trail land available. Let’s jump to the other side of the river. Maybe in Castlereagh. Who’s agenda is it that said that their land’s okay to take? You’ve got a corridor sitting there that’s been available since 1951. That’s a big question.
Yeah. Allison online, she’s saying that it does affect various people, as Megan said. Thank you for that Allison. Good to have you on the line with us.
And actually, bringing you back to that point, Allison, so yes, the land owners within the corridor are affected. The people on the other side of it are drastically affected now. Ours is gone. We have nothing but their property prices has gone drastically. Who wants to buy land that’s going to be looking at an expressway? So, there.
Then, you look to the water community. Your Kurrajong Village, for example, the traffic implications for that village as the local traffic comes through to jump onto that road, if it’s ever built, there is only one on-ramp and it’s near ,which is roughly in the middle of that diagonal line. All of the local traffic that we’re trying to gain access to that road, if it’s ever built, will come to Kurrajong Village. Whether or not it comes through the main street, whether or not they’ve got a nice little side plan worked out and there’s more properties involved, they can genuinely not tell us because they haven’t done their planning.
This proposal is not supported by any studies on how it affects local traffic, how it’s supposed to improve local traffic going forward. They made this most amazing statement at the dropping session at North Richmond and the woman who is the second in charge. She’s , if you are. Made a statement there that that day, which was two weeks into the process, two weeks since we got out of the … Was the first contact they’ve had with RNS. How can they design the corridor without even talking to RNS. The contact came with a phone call. “Oh, hi. We’re here.” What are you doing?
A big disbelief that the governmental agencies can be given the power to take people’s properties away without the instruction to, by the way, have a bit of a ring around and see how it’s going to fit the RNS and whoever’s looking after planning where it comes to koalas and platypus. You might want to have a chat to them, too. None of that’s been done.
Yeah. Look. Now, Mary made some interesting findings and also put up some questions that were put forward by Andrew Simpson. I’m glad …
From the OSO that’s down south.
That’s right, yeah.
He’s doing a great job down there.
It’s good that she’s brought that to everyone’s attention. One of them was …
Can I just actually … Sorry, Rachel. This press release was put out because they’re in exactly the same boat as we are. I’m trying to get answers from the government agencies. If you look at the preamble to his press release, this is put out because they can’t get any traction with anybody to get answers. That’s where that press release comes from. They’re in the same boat as us.
One of the things that I mentioned in the press release is about land owners also adjacent to the corridor and saying that the New South Wales government does not consider that you could potentially be affected but how do you think that that will sit with people? Do you think that …
They should have every right to be very annoyed. The legislative framework that we’re supposedly operating under makes no provision for people that are adjacent to the corridor. Interestingly, though, if we’re looking at the word adjacent and in the vicinity of, let’s jump to the Metro Act.
Yes. The Metro Act is …
The Metro Act is a piece of legislation that has been put before New South Wales parliament at the moment.
Hasn’t been cast as yet.
No, no. It hasn’t been. There’s going to be a whole lot of discussion around it before they do because, let me get my wording on this correctly. That act is what they’re proposing to do under the Transport Administration Amendment Act, knowing that’s a Sydney Metro Bill 2018. Under that act, Sydney Metro will be authorised to “Carry out, finance, manage and otherwise participate in residential, retail, commercial, industrial, mixed-use development, community, open space and recreational facilities.” That’s a long list of things for a metro authority to be involved in.
But it keeps going.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Here we go. Goes further. “Community, open space and recreational facilities on land in the locality of …”
Also known as vicinity, looking back to either the Back to, yeah, the adjacent properties. So, “Locality of metro stations, depots and stabling yards.”
If we unpack that, to use the terminology expressed by Jeff in one meeting, if we unpack that, this legislation allows a government authority to take land from private land owners, their luck, not just for the purpose of building metro, and that comes back to the court case that we also were excited about a few weeks ago where RNS was slapped down because they tried to take some land under the guise of building a road for green space. The court came back and said, “No. You’re only authorised to take land to build your road. That’s it.” We all said, “Yay!”
Then, we found out, this handy legislation is in the wings waiting to remove any safeguards to allow government authority to do what it likes.
Then, the implications of this is huge. What does in the locality of? I’m finding it very interesting that they’re enabling the government department to have control of the locality.
But let’s go back to the poor people that are living in the locality of the OSO or the Bells Line of Road. They have no claim although it looks like they’ll be having government knocking on their door sometime soon to bring them under the wing of acquisition.
That’s the new bill that’s proposed but the previous one allows people to … Or they’re a little bit more each restricted.
Each government authority has its own . Main roads is left, roads is left but roads, transport allowed to build transport, national parks, all this stuff for national parks. National parks don’t get to put their hand up and say, “We’d quite like to build an expressway to our national park,” at the moment. They don’t have that power …
… because their job is to look after the national parks.
Yes! And, Sydney Metro’s job used to be to provide, you know, the greater transport authority used to be to provide good train services which took Canberra and Richmond, they’re not doing a great job on that but all of a sudden, they’re now going to be allowed to be developing properties and managing it as well.
Not only are they buying it, they’re financing it, managing it, in other words, participating in their process. I don’t know who’s going to be driving the trains because they’re all going to be busy doing this. The window this opens is huge and it.
Yeah. No. I understand what you’re saying. I was just going to comment that the act is absolute crap. Just saying. Us personally will lose up to 400,000 to 500,000 on our property if they go ahead and gazette this corridor. Thanks for those comments.
Allison, exactly but then you need to add to that, that you’ll be very lucky to get even that amount this side of 50 years because your only easily accessible way to get the money out of your asset is to go to the open market. No one wants to buy a property that’s within this.
If Allison’s looking to get that vastly reduced amount of money, there is no mechanism for her to get that under the current legislation other than under the hardship provisions. To get that before the road is built, which in our case is 50 years. That’s what we’re coming down to, our local situation. Our problem is doubly hard to bear because we’re not going to see any resolution in any way in the next few years.
Parts of the OSO will be built sooner than later, so those people are going to be in the process and talking to government about getting something back of their land within 5 to 10-year time frame. We’re not looking at being able to access any of those provisions under that forced acquisition situation for 50 years. There’s a lot of people in this who want to retire. There’s real families that might want to go and live somewhere else.
My case, yeah, that’d be great but actually, I quite like to build a house at some stage because if I’m going to be stuck here for 50 years, I’d like to actually live in a comfortable house. I can’t even do that under the provisions where they said you can’t put a development application in without being sent to Transport New South Wales for anything over $200,000.
If I go to my council, day one after the gazettal, I guess that happens, which notice will happen, withdraw your proposal but if it does happen and I want to build a house or doing anything over the value of $200,000. My choice to do that on my land with my own money, is going to be referred to Transport New South Wales. If that proposal does anything to potentially add additional costs of the delivery of the intended infrastructure, they can say, “No.” I have to
Essentially, somebody could spend 200,000 or they could spend a million dollars and …
They can’t spend it. They won’t let you because they will not pass your DA if it’s over the value of 200,000, and also adds value to your property.
But if they added that or if they did allow the DA, that would be your expense and you potentially lose the rest of the money that you .
They must have that choice. They will not allow me to build it. I don’t get that choice anymore. Under that part of … This is the document that we’ve been given at one of the sessions. I don’t even know what legal basis this document has, given that it’s got so many contradictions in it.
question asked on the document. There was no answer.
Actually, these question have …
infinity of them. Yes.
We’ve had two chances to have one on ones. My husband went to one. I went to the other. We have asked numerous questions about how this is going to work, who’s going to administer it, what triggers this process, who makes decisions, on what basis they make decisions. There are no answers out there on this. The reason for that is that they have not written their planning rules around this.
That was another question I asked about one on one. I said, “All right. Okay. You can’t answer the questions now but on day one after this happens, if it happens, which again, I don’t want it to happen and I really hope it doesn’t happen, on day one after that, when I turn up to my council, are they going to be able to answer these questions?” They all looked at me and they said, “We don’t know.”
I said, “So, what’s the planning behind the actual gazettal announcement? Are you going to have all of the planning laws and the instruction and the education for councils? Is that all going to be in place?” Apparently, nobody’s going to plan to have that in place.
At the meeting, it was mentioned that there is a 192 koalas of corridor that’s proposed and that one thing for certain was that that corridor would change. There was …
No. Actually, it depends on who you ask. When you say, “One thing for certain is that corridor for change.” What does that …
That was what was said on the night by the minister.
Jeff Carhill said that, did he? Okay. Actually, I had Jeff Carhill at North Richmond and his helper to the side. His name I don’t know but another high-ranking official in that team. We asked him that specific question, given all the lack of planning and the knowledge of what’s there. “Is there any chance that you will be moving this corridor?” He categorically said that we might move it with in the corridor. The corridor’s 150 metres. “We might move it within the corridor but we will not be moving the corridor.” It’s what he said in North Richmond.
If Jeff Carhill’s up on stage two weeks later or a month later, the night on May 2nd at our meeting said that it will move. That’s interesting. Where’s it going and what community consultation process have you carried out to let everybody know where it’s going?
I think it’s an interesting topic and one that will be ever changing and the landscape that will change as well because obviously, if they go into some sort of construction or build and they find something, that will move the corridor in essence but equally, prior to all of that happening the action group is not wanting it to go forward, which is essentially what you’re saying here today. Whether you agree with it or whether you don’t, I think it’s important as a community that we’re all aware of what’s going on and, as a community, we come together, depending on, it doesn’t matter what your opinion is, it really doesn’t. It’s a matter of us all pulling together and just saying, “Okay. How can we make this a better place to live for all of us? How can we make this work for everybody? How can we be more consultative?” What happened, we talked this through and had real discussions around it because …
All questions that are not currently being answered, that’s all okay for currently by Transport New South Wales or, I would argue, the greater government.
Yeah, because, I mean, it’s affecting not only families but generations of families. You’ve got people that their livelihood is reliant on, that their actual land, we’ve got endangered species. You’ve got koalas that I’ve seen some beautiful photographs of that area that will be affected.
Which just interesting let us sell at illustrious premiere recently. Last week, came out and said that she’s now very interested in koalas and she’s put in place some means of where they’re being mapped and recognising areas and that’s great. But back on March 26th, she put a corridor right though, take koala habitat and our koala populations are one of the healthiest wild populations in the state, in the Hawkesbury. They’re right from to, right through
Yeah, but they once said they’re going to survive long term because they don’t have Chlamydia in the main design of standard. They are a compilation of koalas that have huge worth, I think individually but as a population of koalas, they’re surviving at the moment.
Yeah. They’re doing really well overall.
Yeah. I have to tell you that a corridor go through the middle of it isn’t going to do much for them long term.
Is there other animals and plants that are actually affected that you can tell the people that are watching online?
Good question. Transport New South Wales haven’t done the service to find that out but our group has been a great mechanism for people to come together and say, “Well, look at what I’ve got. I know I have a platypus in my creek at Windy Creek.”
All right. I know I have platypus because they’ve eaten my chickens. I know I’ve got these rare and endangered plants because last time I asked the council if I could do anything, I had to do a study on that. Locals have knowledge about their area. They have not been asked about it on any levels.
Essentially, what your group is getting together and trying to get the word out there and please, if you’re watching this, whether it resonates with you or not, perhaps share the word, please let everybody know that it’s going on. There is one last meeting, I believe, that people can get involved with before the gazettal. Can you just tell people about that online?
Sure. There’s a meeting on and then, you’ll have to check the page. I’m pretty sure it’s the 16th of May. 16th of May at Oakville?
Yeah, 16th of May at Oakville. It’s the last Transport of New South Wales’ drop in session that they’re running for residents. I might add, it’s the only one that the people at Oakville have been given close to home so pretty late in the day for that for them but those sessions aren’t just for the people in those areas. We saw that at Kurrajong when the first one happened. We had 500 people turn up to it, completely terribly run drop-in session there.
These drop-in sessions of everyone. If we want to send a clear message out there right across the Bells Line of Road corridor and the greater OSO corridor in our area, that is your last chance to go and see Transport New South Wales in action on the ground and ask them some questions. Go and ask them the sort of questions we’ve discussed now. Go and ask them the questions that you might have put in your submission. See if you can get some real answers. Then, I suppose, the most important message to leave everybody with is go home and write your submission. Whether or not you’re in the corridor or next to the corridor, you live in Kurrajong, you live in any local road that is going to be effected. If you’ve ever had coffee in Kurrajong and you quite like the place, write a submission. Write a submission. Send it to Transport New South Wales because it’s not just about the content. It’s about the number of people that participate in the process.
If we can’t get people in the greater Hawkesbury to participate in this process, the greater Hawkesbury will be left with a long-term plan that is not doable. It doesn’t function on any level. You are not getting any short to medium-term solutions for what you’re going through today. The great Hawkesbury’s been treated very shabbily, in my mind, on this, particularly as west of the river but this is the greater Hawkesbury issue. We’re just not getting solutions, answers at all at the moment.
No. Okay. The next meeting, that’s the last meeting. If they take the proposal off the table, you’ll …
They have to withdraw it. Don’t give us this shelving bit. The terminology that was used in the recent television segment that caused a lot of widespread, more misunderstanding about this. It didn’t clear anything up. The terminology used in that was shelving. That is disingenuous. That says, “We’re going to park it until after the election and we’ll come back and we’ll do this when the people on the ground don’t have any power to argue against it.”
Withdraw it. Acknowledge that it’s in the wrong place. Acknowledge that the work that needs to be done behind it hasn’t been done. The need hasn’t been determined. The council hasn’t been consulted. Acknowledge all of those things. Withdraw the current proposal and start from scratch.
All right. If they withdraw the proposal and start from scratch, do the consolidative process with local council and what we’ve talked about today, you feel as though that will be the best outcome for the community?
Yes. It’s really the only feasible outcome. These things are going to cost a lot of money, short, medium, and long term. We’ll pay for it. New South Wales is paying for it. Do the best job you possibly can and provide the people of New South Wales with infrastructure that works for them locally for the greater state and be up front about what is driving that. What are your goals for the future?
The isn’t piling up the money so fast. Let us know what those goals are? Let us know what those goals are. Show us what you’re proposing really meets those goals. Then, we’ve all got a choice whether we agree or not but the proposal you’ve got in front of us for Kurrajong, it just doesn’t solve anything for anyone.
Actually, if there’s anybody west of the ranges listening to this, and they were central in pushing for some sort of solution to solve their problems getting to Sydney, the fact that the rest of the road between Kurrajong Heights to Orange and, you know, has to go through World Heritage national park. How feasible is it to build a road, that’s apparently going to be the solution to all their problems, that has to go through World Heritage national park?
Then, make sure you realise it’s going through a tunnel at Kurrajong Heights because you can’t drive fuel trucks through there. If this whole design is around freight and all these things that need to get to Sydney …
The legalities around that.
Make sure what you’re trying to get from Orange or the greater west, the way they’re building it down the Bells Line of Road is the best way to do it or even if it’s a legal way to do it. They’re making the other side and they tell us how you’re going to go through the national park. How you going to come through a World Heritage-listed national park in order to link up with a road you’re proposing in our end?
The proposal at our end doesn’t do anything for anyone, really. You can even come back to another basic problem that’s been mentioned a lot is the whole ability for this area to evacuate people in times of flood. This proposal doesn’t even touch on that. You’ve got beans being thrown on the road that does nothing to fix problems.
The road that’s proposed, there’s been a lot of different proposals like the users you’ve said. Is there any way that the top surface doesn’t need to be … If it goes underground in any way … Has there been any proposals about that?
Yeah. Lots of people in the community have said, “What about tunnelling?” I don’t know anything about tunnelling.
I don’t either. I’m just
Right? There’s fantastic roads in Europe that do that. We’ve all seen what amazing things happen with tunnels elsewhere in Sydney and how it solved problems. They’re expensive but yeah, if we’re going to go right back to the beginning stages of this. If we’re genuine in getting these right, then throw all the options on the table. There’s been a lot of mentioning of tunnels in the discussion around this.
Yeah. Why not have that discussion happening? Then think about where you want to start and where you want to finish. Then, have a chat to the people that are about to leave the … The beginning and end of that tunnel.
Yeah. Look. Again, anything that you’re going to plan, anything that’s going to be proposed …
There’s always going to be people that are affected.
Of course, but run your process better to find a need. Talk to people about where it’s going to go. Give them a way out. Give them fair properly laws. There’s a whole suite of laws and backdrop plans that need to be in place for any planning process to go forward. Consult, determine the need, design it really well. Then, give everybody a means to move away from it if their property’s involved fairly.
Mmm (affirmative). Because as a real estate agent in the Hawkesbury, I find that any property, if it’s new. Whether it’s a river, it’s affected by flood. If it’s near the bush land, it’s affected by fire. There’s a train that might be nearby. That’s great for some people because they love walking distance. Other people don’t like the train noise that it creates. Others like living closer to amenities. Others don’t. Others like being in the space, so you say
All these things you just listed are things that people are aware of, they go and look at a property and they have four winners for all of those things. They can make an individual choice as to whether or not they would like to buy that property, put their money into that property, live how they want on that property. Yes and we all do that but what’s happened to these people is they’ve looked at all those things. They’ve even looked at where existing are and there’s an corridor running down the existing Bells Line of Road. Just let me get that out there. We’ve all made decisions about buying properties with all of that knowledge. This knowledge wasn’t part of the decision making process for us.
No. I understand.
Essentially, what I was saying was that any property that has certain things, whether it’s a train, whether it’s a proposed corridor, whatever it is, they all affect the end result for the consumer. It’s important that the due diligence is done.
As you say, people have been affected in some way and it’s been unfortunate the way in which the circumstances have gone but unfortunately, we have to move forward. We have to make the best of what we have and make sure that everybody’s aware of it, come together as a community, and see …
Move forward with knowledge.
Move forward with knowledge and planning.
That’s not in place at the moment.
No. I think that it’s really important that getting all of the local constituents on board together with the local council, because they’ve been great, as I say, and we’ll have a couple of the counsellors on in there, hopefully, in the next couple of weeks, just to give you more insight into what their thinking and what they’re able to bring to the table.
Look. Mary Lyons-Buckett had some great things to say at a local council meeting. I really enjoyed listening to her speak about that. I enjoyed seeing that someone that is representing us has the big picture in mind, has the knowledge and has the backing of certainly behind what she had to say but I’d say genuine back into the wider community.
Yeah. That’s good. It’s great to have a great mayor. It’s great to be supported with her as well but I think that there’s a lot of questions that have gone unanswered but there’s also some topics that need to be discussed. I think it’s important to move forward with this. We’ve got the meeting coming up on Wednesday on the 16th. If it doesn’t get gazetted in the proposals off the table, that’s great. The consultative process, what happens if it does get gazetted? Which way do you see this going?
Okay. Obviously, our first aim is to have this proposal withdrawn but as I’ve said, we can’t get any information what happened. Day one after gazettal, which apparently, it’s supposedly happening before Christmas and what happens before then. Let’s go to end of June.
First of June, we’re missions in. From now until the first of June, go away, everybody and find submission, get it into Transport New South Wales.
After first of June, Transport New South Wales is supposed to be looking at everything that’s been written, going back to people. Well, you would hope, people at councils and things. But if nothing else that the people looking at the corridor, their remit is to go and read everything they’ve been sent in the submissions process.
I would really like to see an interim report from them, knowing who sent a submission, when that was sent, before or after June 1st, how many residents sent in submissions, where they’re getting submissions from and where they’re not because I would suggest that where they’re not getting submissions, that’s not a tested approval. That’s people that didn’t know about it.
Let’s get the figures and the table of where submissions have come from and then get a fair chance to look at what those figures are suggesting. Don’t come back to the saying that, you know, there was 500 submissions, therefore the rest of New South Wales thinks it’s a great idea. No. That’s disingenuous. We’re not copying that but come back with the information as an interim part of this and then keep the people, the broader community, aware of where this is going. Don’t just come back to us, I’d say, day before Christmas or day after’d be a good day not to come back and say, “I probably won’t. We’ve gazetted this.”
If you are getting close to Christmas and you think you’re going to gazette it, make sure that you have the underlying legislation from a planning, property acquisition … You have every possible question and problem facing people going forward with this answered in a written document that you can go to a solicitor with and say, “Look. This is where I am. Help me through this.” Answer everything before you do it.
Mmm (affirmative). The opportunity that people have is to go through the process, go to the meeting on Wednesday of next week. If they’ve got some ideas or if you’ve got some letters, submissions, those sort of things, put that forward. Who would they write that to where they
It’s to Transport New South Wales and if you look at the BLORCAG web page, we’ve got information on where that’s going to. If you’re on the OSO, Andrew Simpsons’ page has got all that information but if you want to go straight to the source, Transport New South Wales’ website has got that information. We can either send it in electronically. You can send it in writing. There’s a number of opportunities.
There’s an interactive map you can get onto and have a look. There was an opportunity to drop a pin on that and write a comment. Submissions don’t have to be a formal letter. They come in all shapes and forms. I might add that every letter that the BLORCAG has written to the premier on this has also been sent back as a submission. Apparently, everything you write to the government at the moment is considered a submission.
Yeah. Really, there’s lot of opportunities to get a submission in. And if you’re waiting for a replay to a letter, you might have to wait for the submissions process to come back because we’re not getting any answers from the letters we’ve written to the premier on this.
Yeah. At least you’ll still be able to submit the letters and put the submissions to
Yes, up until June 1st.
Up until June 1st.
Write a letter. Write a letter and really think about what this proposal means for you. Is it answering? Is it doing something a problem for you? How is it impacting on you? How is it impacting on your community? How is it impacting on your environment? Has it impacted on your bank balance or your financial plan? Your future really. Send it off.
Participate in the process now because I’ve said in the wider community, if you don’t step up and start participating on any level at this stage, you’d be left with this as a fait accompli and you’ll be living with the badly-planned results of this going forward. The wider community will because this is going to be this big line that controls future traffic management going forward. We’re all going to, as I say, we spend a lot of time sitting in traffic.
If you’re not sitting in traffic … Let’s start from there. If you spend any time in the last week sitting in traffic on the Hawkesbury, write a submission.
I guess the message from today is anybody that wants to get involved, they can get in contact with BLORCAG. What’s the website or the Facebook page that they can contact on?
It’s on Hawkesbury BLORCAG … Hawkesbury Bells Line of Road Corridor Action Group.
Yeah.It’s very active Facebook page.
You can join the page. They’ll let you interact and have a look at what the proposals are and also get involved with the meeting coming up. If you wanted to write a submission, you might feel as though it doesn’t count or what
It does, though. The numbers matter on this. Every submission that goes into this makes a difference. Please, yet, participate in the process. However badly run that process has been run, don’t use as an excuse not to participate.
If I hear another person say, “We can’t change anything. I’m not doing anything,” I’ll probably … I don’t know what I’m going to do. Write a letter. Write a letter now, otherwise don’t come back to us in five years time when you’ve discovered that you’ve got a feeder road going through your place leading onto an expressway that you didn’t bother about when you could.
Yeah. No, okay. Thanks so much for your time today, Megan.
I really appreciate it. Allison, thanks for being on line. Maurine, thanks to you. Thumbs up. Appreciate that and all the other comments that we’ve got. Last to finish off, Allison’s putting here about koala habitat is so precious to us, our kids would never have seen anything else if they haven’t have been there. Warren’s joined us in the chat at the back end of the conversation.
Yeah, I know. It’s been terrific to catch up.
Thank you so much for your time.
Thanks for the opportunity.
No, that’s okay. Look, I’m all about community. I’m a local real estate agent. I’m no expert when it comes to the proposed corridor but I just want to …
Neither was I since March the 26th, I have to say. Yeah. It’s been a fascinating trip.
Yeah, but it’s good to be involved with they community. It’s good to be involved with what everybody’s doing and understand as to what can be done and what the possibilities are when we all work together.
Allison’s also put up #wecandothis and we stand together.
Add the #yougazzetteyoubuy. That’s another one that some of our members have been working out of the whole property acquisition bit.
Excellent. I also put some of the links up. I’ll put the links up, too. The mayor’s comments in the BLORCAG and also some of the maps that have been there. We’ve got some interactive thing that you can have a look at. Have a look for yourself. Put the submission in. Support what is going on. Whether you do or you don’t, Just be aware of what is actually happening and how it may or may not affect your property. Maybe, if you might want to help somebody else with their process or you have some sort of skill sets involved.
Actually, can I have a little mention there?
There is another public event then that will be very suitable for people, if they don’t have the skills. We’ve got a submission writing workshop that’s happening on Monday the 21st of May at the Richmond Club. It’s a great venue. You can have dinner there beforehand. We’re having David present that. It just gives people some help with how to write it and how to organise it. It’s their ideas. They bring their ideas with them and they will be given help on how to put it together.
If you need a bit of help or encouragement or you’ve just been sitting on the fence, thinking, “Oh, I’ll get to it,” May 21st, Richmond Club, 6 o’clock for 6:30 start. That’s available to everyone. From the OSO, from the corridor, and the greater community that wants to have a say on that, this is your opportunity to get some help.
There you go. No excuses for any of us. If we want to get involved, put your tail in the water and jump in the water as well. No reason I’m putting your tail in, you go all feet in, don’t you?
Oh, I . You can write a letter and then go away, not worry about it. If that’s how you want to participate, it would be great. That level of involvement’s fantastic.
Yeah. Even if it’s a one line or two line, it doesn’t really matter.
That’s a submission.
It doesn’t need to be … That’s right.
Every word, everything’s a submission.
That’s right, so get involved. If you got any questions, Megan’s very approachable and very easy to talk to.
As is the Facebook page. I have to say, it’s not open yet today but the BLORCAG community is a broad community, the people that have got this off the ground, there’s a group of 10 to 12 people that have been spinning little, add knots on this. Yeah, it is. That page actually has brought the community together really beautifully and just for things like koalas, to see people discussing about what they’re strong . In their back yard. There hasn’t really been a mechanism for that information to be coming forward. That experience has been a good one.
Yeah. The Hawkesbury community, once again, is coming into the fold. We’re all helping one another out. That’s terrific. Get in contact with BLORCAG on the Facebook page. I will put the links up if anybody’s got any other questions, don’t hesitate to message them. I’m sure Megan and the other team would be able to help you out. I guess maybe you’ll come back on and tell us how you went at the meeting and the updates in the next couple of weeks?
I’d quite like to get some sleep in the meantime. That sounds good.
Yeah, terrific. All right. Thanks again for coming on the episode. Thank you for everybody participating.
As I say, I’m local real estate agent and I don’t have any opinion one way or the other. I just wanted to get the message out for people just so that they could get an idea of what’s actually happening in the local community.
All right. Nice to see everyone. Thanks very much, Megan. We’ll catch up with you …
… on our next episode.
Thank you so much for taking time out and listening to today’s episode. If you have any questions on the process of buying, selling, leasing or Strata management, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.
Be sure to subscribe on iTunes and I’d really appreciate it if you could spread the world by liking and sharing this episode with your family and friends.
I’m Rachael Goldsworthy and I look forward to catching up with you on the next episode of The Drive Home to Hawkesbury.