Toxic fumes will be trapped over Balgowlah and neighbouring suburbs if the State Government goes ahead with its existing plans for the Northern Beaches tunnel.
That’s the view of a community group which has carried out a detailed assessment of the Beaches Link tunnel plans, focusing on the location of vehicle access points and exhaust stacks.
The plans, which were leaked from the RMS and published in the ABC and Sydney Morning Herald earlier this year, show two access points for the Northern Beaches - one near Serpentine Parade and Burnt Bridge Deviation, Balgowlah and the other on Wakehurst Parkway, near Kirkwood St, North Seaforth.
The Seaforth/North Balgowlah Beaches Link Community Group says both locations are problematic.
Group spokesperson Marco Corrent says the group wasn’t trying to stop the Beaches Link project, but simply to get community input into the design process.
“We just need some open thinking from the government," he said. "And the integration of some of our ideas into their designs, because that is what the community wants."
“We’ve put together a document, with advice from a commercial architect, civil engineers with state infrastructure experience, ventilation engineers and other experts. It points out the problems with the existing plan and suggests cost-neutral alternatives.”
The document, which has been sent to the RMS and to State Roads Minister Melinda Pavey, identifies the Balgowlah ventilation stack as particularly worrying.
Not only is this stack less than 150m from Seaforth Primary School, but it’s located in a topographical low point that is notorious among locals for trapping smoke and other emissions.
This occurs as the prevailing easterlies from the ocean stop smoke or fumes from dissipating out to sea, but are not strong enough to blow them over Seaforth Ridge, immediately to the west. Emissions from an exhaust stack would therefore build up over Balgowlah, gradually spreading out over the "valley" that extends from Manly to Brookvale and North Curl Curl - a densely populated area with at least 12 schools and many kindergartens and day care centres.
While the Balgowlah location is too low, the group believes the Seaforth location is too high for an access point so close to the deep tunnel section under Middle Harbour.
Their assessment reveals that the grade from the tunnel low point to the proposed exit at Seaforth is 4.5%, which exceeds the RMS own guidelines and is likely to cause excessive pollution as vehicles drop into low gear to tackle the climb.
As well both locations are close to existing houses and near precious bushland.
But solutions are possible.
One idea is to shorten the Balgowlah tunnel spur - the section between the main tunnel and the Balgowlah exit - to 500m, a length at which it would not need its own exhaust stack. All the exhaust emissions would then be safely vented at the Seaforth Exhaust Stack, located on a high, windy ridge.
And the Seaforth access portal should be moved 600m further north along the Wakehurst Parkway resulting in a longer distance for the climb from the tunnel low point and therefore a gentler, safer grade.
The document says these relocations would also mean fewer homes would be affected in both locations, meaning the government would save money on house acquisitions and on expensive noise mitigation work, as well as causing less disruption to the community.
Mr Corrent said the group has been told the project is only in the concept stage and that their ideas will be considered for the final design, which will be made public next year.
"I'm hopeful they will take our ideas on board," he said. "This is what the community wants. People are being polite now - but they won't put up with having an exhaust stack right next to a primary school.
"We have a lot of support, including from Manly Ward councillors (Deputy Mayor) Candy Bingham and Sarah Grattan, and from (Northern Beaches Council Mayor) Michael Regan."
The Beaches Link assessment document is available here:
The first election for the new Northern Beaches Council saw 81 candidates contesting 15 councillor positions, over five wards. Good For Manly gained the most votes in the new Manly Ward, with Candy Bingham declared elected on polling night, together with Liberal candidate Pat Daley. Overall it is expected there will be 9 Independents, 1 Green and 5 Liberal Councillors on the new Council.
The third spot for Councillor in Manly will be decided by preferences, with Your Northern Beaches candidate Sarah Grattan expected to win after a close contest with Kyeema Doyle, Good For Manly's No.2.
With the support of hundreds of volunteers, Good for Manly ran a first-rate, community-based campaign resulting in a doubling of votes from the previous council election in 2012, and a swing against the Liberals of 18%.
See the analysis below.
Our first priorities will be to re-instate the off-leash dog area at Manly Lagoon, call for an audit of parking in Manly with the view to putting locals first, and ensuring that the Manly Town Hall building remains in public hands as a community centre.
A HUGE thank you to all of our volunteers who letterbox dropped 22,000 flyers, handed out how-to-votes at pre-polling, made donations to our campaign, and worked tirelessly on polling day.
The first council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday 26th September, 2017, 6.30pm at Dee Why Council Chambers when the Mayor and Deputy Mayor will be elected by the Councillors.
They're back! The Sea Nymphs, or Oceanides, were returned to Fairy Bower pool last week, and this time they're here to stay, with the sculptures made of beautiful, unbreakable bronze.
The artwork, created 20 years ago by sculptor Helen Leete, was destroyed beyond repair in a huge storm last year.
But the Northern Beaches community was not prepared to let the iconic creation die, and the Save Our Sea Nymphs committee was formed.
"I was delighted to be part of this enthusiastic group of artists and local residents," Good for Manly President and newly elected Northern Beaches Councillor Candy Bingham said. "We worked very closely with the original artist Helen Leete, and Clive Calder, from Australia Bronze Art Gallery and Foundry up at North Head, where the new bronze statues were eventually poured.
"Early on I was able to get the support of the Northern Beaches Council administrator to underwrite half of the reconstruction costs. That was a huge help, as we needed $80,000 all up to recreate the sculptures in a way that would last - in bronze."
In the end, the community was easily up to the task. A whopping $57,000 was raised from art lovers and locals who wanted to see the 'sisters' returned to their rock platform.
A limited edition of mini nymph sculptures, individually created by Ms Leete, were a big part of the success. The miniatures sold out on the night they were released, contributing $27,000 to the cause.
Now the nymphs are back, and they have immediately become part of the action.
Their reinstatement was featured on ABC news, and this week they were on almost every TV channel and newspaper, when Fairy Bower pool was used to resuscitate an injured great white shark.
"After the shark was gone, I went down to have another look at them, and they just looked great," Cr Bingham said. "The bronze, with its sea-green patina is fabulous, and it will look even better as it starts to age.
"And absolutely everybody that was going past was stopping to have a look and usually take a photo. Everyone seemed so happy they were back."
In a shock move, the Council Administrator decreed at his last Council meeting, that Manly Lagoon would be on-leash on weekends & holidays. This has caused a major back-lash by dog owners because the area had been off-lease for more than sixty years.
Hundreds of dog owners are looking to the new Council to reinstate the off-leash area, with the ManlyDogs group being proactive in seeking the reversal.
Prior to the Council election executive members of ManlyDogs convened a meeting of candidates for the Northern Beaches Council and sought their support in having the ban reversed.
Candy Bingham of Good For Manly, who has been working alongside ManlyDogs for some years, supported the reversal, as did Pat Daley & David Walton of the Liberals, Sarah Grattan and Michael Regan of Your Northern Beaches and Madeleine Charles of The Greens.
It is expected the matter will be discussed at the first appropriate meeting of the new Council.
Candy Bingham, Deputy Mayor, Northern Beaches Council. Background in marketing, public relations & community engagement. Author of five business books. Former Lady Mayoress of Sydney. Aka Candy Tymson.