The Beaches Link tunnel is set to become a State Significant infrastructure (SSI) project, meaning all decisions will be made at a State level.
The RMS notified stakeholders last week that it had applied to the Department of Planning for SSI listing for the Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link project.
This step takes decision making out of the hands of councils and local communities, although Northern Beaches Council will still make a submission to the Planning Minister.
“I believe local council is always in a better place to understand local communities and get the best outcome for our whole region,”
Good For Manly President and Council Deputy Mayor Candy Bingham said.
“But due to the size and impact the Beaches Link tunnel will have on a wide area, it was always going to be called in as State Significant Infrastructure.”
Final decisions about SSI applications are made by the Department of Planning and Environment.
The department website says submissions from relevant councils and public submissions will be considered in the assessment process.
“While there’s no doubt we need a solution to the terrible traffic around Spit Bridge, there are problems with the existing design for the Beaches Link,” Cr Bingham said.
“The worst is the proposed location of one of the exhaust stacks, which is right near Seaforth Public School and in a spot where the fumes will be trapped by the prevailing winds and local topography.”
“We should also have public transport in the tunnel. That’s a no brainer.”
The Seaforth/North Balgowlah Beaches Link Community Group has put together a detailed assessment of the proposed stack locations, along with suggestions to solve the trapped-fumes problem. Details here.
The uptake of different modes of transport - Uber, driverless cars and in particular, electric cars - will also have an impact on emissions in the future.
Candy Bingham, Manly Ward Councillor on Northern Beaches Council. Background in marketing, public relations and community engagement. Author of five business books. Former Lady Mayoress of Sydney. Aka Candy Tymson.