Letters to our PM who will listen ?

5th February 2011

I write to convey my family’s opposition to the proposal to construct an Intermodal Freight Terminal on ex Defence land at Moorebank NSW.

Our reasons are many but include the following,

My family moved to the suburb of Wattle Grove, next to the proposed site approximately 15 years ago to escape 28 years of continuous chemical and noise pollution at our previous residence.  After looking at several areas we decided to move to Wattle Grove as in our opinion we could achieve what we were seeking, and that was a quieter lifestyle.

In doing so we had to pay a premium price for our block of land, build under an extremely strict covenant. We based our decision on the fact that the land on two sides of the estate was occupied by the defence force from which we would get occasional noise which has proved to be the case.

We spent many hours and hard earned money in creating a home that would be low maintenance in our retirement. We also see our home as a financial back in old age.

There is also justified concern by many residents like us that our homes will be devalued dramatically due to a very peaceful residential area being turned into a heavy industrial area and we would ask the State/Federal Government and the developer Simta as to what compensation we will receive for our property loss.

As we approached retirement age, we have been looking forward to finally being able to spend time relaxing in a peaceful environment, which to us is priceless.

From our point of view we have done our bit, paid our taxes and all we wished for was to retire to a lifestyle we had planned 15 years ago and to now face this monstrosity virtually in our back yard is totally unacceptable.

Like many other residents, we didn’t move to Wattle Grove to live next to a container terminal. Had we wished to do that, we would have moved to Botany.

A development of this nature has no place next to a residential subdivision purely due to its hours of operation being 24 hours per day, 7 days per day, let alone the other issues such as traffic congestion, noise, diesel pollution and light spill.

I’m more than experienced to know firsthand the environmental, noise and health issues that a development of this nature can create, having spent 13 years of my 46 years in the transport & logistics industry working in the type of facility that is proposed.  

The noise that will be transmitted from the proposed facility will ruin the peaceful environment that the residents currently share. The noise will include that created by numerous container straddle trucks as they move around the site picking up and placing containers down. (During a recent visit to four container handling facilities in New Zealand, upwards to 30 of these machines were observed working in areas much smaller than the proposed Moorebank site)

The proximity of the proposed site to the adjacent residential area is of great concern as the distance between it and homes is between 250 and 500 metres.

One of the proposed rail lines into the facility would only be approximately 300

metres from nearby homes.

(I’m sure the residents would be thrilled to listen to rolling stock (Trains) being shunted in and out of the terminal all night long)

The concept plan application submitted by Urbus on behalf of Simta indicates that the proposed development will be constructed in several stages. It is noted that stage 1 will be 50% of the rail line, stage 2 will consist of 190,000m2GLA warehousing, and stage 3 the other 600 metres and 110,000m2GLA of warehousing which suggests that the warehousing area that has been indicated as a buffer zone may not be constructed for years if ever. (Refer executive summary, “These buildings are proposed to be constructed in stages in response to site sericing availability and market demand)

Figure 5 (Indicative staging plan) of the Concept Plan application suggests that with the exception of a small portion of the site, the site will dedicated to warehousing and load & unloaded facilities.  This would raise the question as to where the applicant plans to park the employee vehicles and the 2000 + trucks that will call on the site daily. 

Increase in traffic on what is already is a clogged road network. The roads into and out of Moorebank are a bottleneck of a morning and in the afternoon.

As its assumed that water runoff from the proposed site will find its way into the Georges River, there is a high risk that products other than storm water will find their way into what is already a fragile river. It is a known fact that facilities’ like the proposed have spill incidents of product, be they non hazardous of a dangerous nature, that can easily contaminate a river.

Of more concern is the ongoing health of local residents due to diesel emissions. The development is proposed to be built in an area known as a basin where there is little air movement. The area is heavily reliant on the wind to clear pollution and if it doesn’t arrive, the pollution lays in the basin. As the proposal will result in up to an additional 2000 trucks + an unknown number of ancient rail locomotives entering the area daily will result in massive diesel emissions dramatically increasing pollution and risking the health of all the residents including children.  In my opinion this issue falls under the term of “Duty of Care”

From what I have read, diesel emissions can result in an increases in heart and lung disease, asthma and debilitating body functions. More at risk are the elderly who reside in numerous retirement facilities in our area.

To date, our family have worked hard in looking after our health and as such, have no intention of placing ourselves at risk.

In the surrounding suburbs we also have many school age children for whom we, the adults are responsible to provide them a safe living environment and filling them with contaminants is not a safe environment

My question on the above point would be to ask the State, Federal Government and the developer if they are prepared to guarantee our ongoing health should this proposal get the go ahead.  As previously stated, I see this as a massive “Duty of Care” issue.    

Since 2008 we as a community have been treated shabbily and lied to on many occasions. We have also been assured on many occasions that the proposal was only in its early stages when in fact our own eyes told us of the underhandedness going on.

To my knowledge, the only resident consultation meeting that has taken place on a face to face basis was the meeting that a consultant paid people $80 to attend.

The attendee’s were made up of 50% home owners and 50% defence housing tenants. We find it outrageous that non property owners were paid to attend this meeting whose point of view would have been totally different from those people who pay the mortgage.

The consultants should be holding open forum meetings and not holding loaded phone conversations or closed door meetings.

I recently read that The Moorebank Project Office had employed Parsons Brinckerhoff as a consultant for at least the planning stage. Consultancy firms involved in the planning stage of a major project such as this need to been seen to be completely impartial. This does not appear to be the case as Parsons Brinckerhoff are a member of and aligned with a pro-Intermodal organisation, FROGS.

How can local communities have confidence that their concerns over this project will be given due consideration by PB, A firm that is part of a pro-Intermodal group. This is most certainly a conflict of interest that cannot be ignored

Should this proposal be fully investigated and not just rubber stamped it will be found that it is not compatible with the surrounding residential subdivisions and regardless of cost be moved to an area where it will not have a negative impact on the community.

The communities’ health is more important than profits or a quick and cheap solution to a problem.

At this point of proceedings the RESIDENTS/TAXPAYERS can no longer trust any of our appointed government officials, Consultants or Stockland/Simta for that matter.

We can’t help but see this proposal as just another government stuff up that the taxpayers will carry the can for.

The residents of Wattle Grove, Holsworthy, Casula and surrounding areas are totally opposed to development for very obvious reasons.

                         What’s happened to democracy

Yours Sincerely

Allan Corben


About Jim McGoldrick

An Alliance of Residents and Professionals fighting for justice in Australia. Working for people not political parties
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