METRO DISRUPTION CHOS FOR OUR COMMUNITY
North Shore residents fear Blues Point Reserve will become a giant waste excavation site for at least two years, as heavy trucks remove soil and other contaminants during construction of the NSW government's Sydney Metro project.
The planned underground, stand-alone railway network project is mooted to begin late next year and is scheduled for completion in 2024.
It will feature twin tunnels gouged deep below the land surface, and new metro train stations constructed at Chatswood, Crows Nest and North Sydney en route to an underground crossing at McMahons Point, under Sydney Harbour, and then through the CBD to the south west.
As Blues Point Road will be a main thoroughfare for construction activity, McMahons Point residents Judith Rintoul and precinct president Ian Curdle are galvanising the support of NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian to minimise the disruption on their local village area during construction.
"There are many impacts locally, and we are especially concerned we will have two years of heavy trucking along Blues Point Road - estimated at 12 movements per hour, 11 hours a day," Ms Rintoul says.
“The noise and vibration from the underground tunnelling below our homes and businesses will also impact traders, residents and visitors to this area. It will be a huge disturbance."
Residents wrote to the premier requesting excess soil and spoil from the reserve be barged across the harbour, instead of trucked through McMahons Point and North Sydney.
Mr Curdle says local residents now want the state government to be more "hands on” mitigating local impacts instead of leaving it to the many contractors to organise.
“This is a thriving village centre and the trucking will have a huge impact on the narrow historic roads and homes in the area," Ms Rintoul says. “The loss of parking in lower Blues Point Road will also affect residents as many people do not have their own garages, and therefore park on the road."
Meanwhile, traders are concerned that the new metro station in Crows Nest there will disrupt business. traffic and their local village community.
Crows Nest Mainstreet Committee chairperson Dionlsios Xenos, whose family business Xenos Restaurant Bar & Cafe has been in the area since 1969, says it’s great to see beneficial change in the area, but he's concerned the construction will "take away the unique atmosphere of Crows Nest”.
"We really don't want Crows Nest becoming another St Leonards or North Sydney,“ Mr Xenos says. “Although there may be high rises along the Paciﬁc Highway, this is a heritage precinct that currently has mid to low-density living and we want to maintain this.
"Long-term trafﬁc management with the metro construction will also be an issue because with the new Woolworths development here, there is added congestion along the streets and in and out of the car park," Mr Xenos adds.
In North Sydney, the metro development has claimed the popular North Sydney Tower Shopping Centre, which is now closed and will be demolished to make way for the new Victoria Cross Station. Cafes, restaurants and retail stores have either had to relocate or close completely.
The Tower Centre was built about 35 years ago and housed more than 30 businesses, and was a focal point and meeting place in the heart of the CBD.
North Sydney mayor Jilly Gibson says the metro rail line project will be "short-term pain for long-term gain".
"It has been extremely difficult for our businesses here," she admits.
"The metro construction phase will take about ﬁve to seven years - there are deﬁnitely negatives and positives. We do expect more cafes to be set up in the future, as construction workers will spend money in the CBD, and we are committed to managing the traffic congestion.
"The Sydney Metro also link us with emerging markets and Barangaroo and the northern and south-western suburbs."
"I'm hoping after it is completed it will further increase the vibrancy of the North Sydney CBD," Mayor Gibson says.