About Us

The NSW Government currently has a proposal for a Beaches Link Tunnel, a tollway from Seaforth and Balgowlah to the Warringah Expressway near Cammeray. Early planning has been combined with a proposed Western Harbour Tunnel, joining North Sydney and Rozelle.

 

Viable Transport Solutions is a community group whose purpose is to share information about the impact of the Northern Beaches Tunnel on the local area including Balgowlah, North Balgowlah, Balgowlah Heights, Fairlight, Manly, Manly Vale, Seaforth, and beyond. We are a group of local residents, and not affiliated with any political party.

Our community group has formed combining groups from Save Balgowlah, Clean Air Seaforth, North Harbour Community Group, Beaches Tunnel – How it impacts you, and North Balgowlah Tunnel information.

Viable Transport Solutions are Michael Cook (President), Nerissa Levy (Vice President and Secretary), Jo Casserly (Treasurer), Denise Gardner (Public Officer), Lucy McLelland (Appointed agent) and a team of dedicated volunteers, organisers, and all-round helpers.

Community Involvement

 

The local community has been working with the government for almost 2 years to understand plans for the project – but have found problems getting accurate information, and their input falling on deaf ears, and many of their queries going unanswered. Comprehensive and complete information is essential for the community to understand the project and it’s impact, not just spin statements from politicians and a box ticking exercise of community consultation.

 

Market research conducted by the community revealed only 13% support for the current tunnel design, with the major objections being unfiltered exhaust stacks near homes and schools, and an access road replacing Balgowlah Golf course.

 

Announcements of small changes to the design have been made recently by the government – minor tweaks to traffic intersections and access on Kitchener Rd bridge. Unfortunately, these changes have addressed none of the community’s major objections to the project, and only minimal changes to the design are expected in future.

 

Community members with engineering expertise have spent much time developing workable alternative designs which impact residents less – but again, no significant changes have been accepted.

 

The government has refused to release the business case for the project, despite requests under Freedom of Information/GIPAA laws. Estimates by residents with relevant expertise have suggested that there is no valid business case for the project – that for every $1 spent, it would return only 50-70 cents worth of benefit to the community.

 

The next stage of the project is an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that is underway and due to be published in mid-2019, detailing the near final design. This stage exists for planners to detail mitigation strategies for the impacts of construction and operation of the project – impacts to both the environment and to residents.

 

The government states this process includes community consultation, but the large amount of detail of the EIS, and the experience from recent similar projects, has shown no significant changes are made from community consultation during the EIS. For example 30,000+ submissions petitioning changes to the WestConnex EIS resulted in no significant changes being made.

The community asks the government…

 

The community calls on the NSW Government to halt the development process to allow for a suitable review. This review would:-

 

  • Identify the scale of the future transportation needs for the Northern Beaches (including a review of the underlying assumptions)
  • Identify and evaluate the range of possible transportation solutions and provide recommendations capable of implementation.

 

The review would have regard to:-

 

  • Developments in transportation strategies (particularly those relating to mass transit and public transport like buses)
  • The impact of any plans on the affected communities (including disruption from construction and the health of residents)
  • The social and environmental impacts of alternative transport solutions, including the impact on green space, and the cost/benefit analysis of any proposal.

What can I do?

 

This project is underway despite not being formally approved yet by government – houses have already been acquired, and over $500M has been allocated from the state budget for marketing, preliminary testing and design work.

The Beaches Link tunnel is not a solution for our transport problems. Only significant improvements to public transport provides a long-term and cost-effective solution, giving us a balance between better travel times and protecting our community from overdevelopment.

 

Make sure you email us at beachestunnel@gmail.com and join our email list for regular updates from the community.

We also encourage you to write to your local state MP and let them know your opinions – they are there to represent you.