NOTICE OF MOTION - BEACHES LINK TUNNEL
This Notice of motion was put forward by Councillor Grattan.
BACKGROUND FROM COUNCILLOR SARAH GRATTAN
The Beaches Link tunnel will be the largest investment in infrastructure on the Northern Beaches in living memory. It is a NSW Government State Significant Infrastructure Project that is estimated to cost $14billion.
This project will be the largest and most strategic change to impact the Northern Beaches over the next few decades. It is imperative that we get this project right and provide for facilities and amenities that will have regard to the long-term needs of the community. The Council contribution to the tunnel project must be guided by our Community Strategic Plan.
The NB Community Strategic Plan vision is “a safe, inclusive and connected community that lives in balance with its extraordinary coastal and bushland environment”.
Key goals in the Community Strategic Plan include:
16. Our integrated transport network meets the needs of the community
17. Our community can safely and efficiently travel within and beyond the NB
11. Our community feels safe and supported
6. Our neighborhoods inspire social interaction, inclusion and support health & well-being
21. Our community is actively engaged in decision making processes
22. Our council builds and maintains strong partnerships & advocates on behalf of the community
In addition, our draft MOVE Transport Strategy Vision is “to enable freedom of movement to, from and within the Northern Beaches using a safe, smart, efficient, integrated and sustainable transport network ...”
Council’s response to the Beaches Link tunnel must be guided by these strategic vision and goals. Further, during development of the community strategic plan, consultation identified that the top priority concerns of the NB community were
Transport & congested roads 35%
Public transport 23%
Ensure services and infrastructure meet the needs of the growing population 21%
The release of the Northern Beaches Transport Discussion paper and subsequent consultation process in May/June 2018 also identified that the provision of public transport and active transport were also very important to the Northern Beaches Community. Council understands that the Northern Beaches community are largely supportive of the tunnel, but are keen to ensure it includes public transport and also minimizes impacts on the local residents. Late July 2018 saw the release of the latest Project Update that outlined a proposed design for community consultation. The Roads Maritime Services (RMS) are seeking feedback from the community over the next 3 months prior to the Environmental Impact Statement process. The consultation period ends on 9 November 2018. It is vital Council staff develop a submission from Northern Beaches Council during this RMS Consultation period During the early design phases of the tunnel project, the RMS consulted with local representatives, local community groups and council officers on concerns raised over project design details.
This resulted in a number of changes to the project design such as provision of fauna crossings, active transport infrastructure, re-location of portals away from houses, schools and Seaforth Oval, the saving of Burnt Bridge Creek and residences. These changes have been well received by those involved. The revised design has resulted in a very significant change to the Balgowlah tunnel entrance and access arrangements. This new design has directly impacted a community of residents living adjacent to the golf course that haven’t previously engaged with the Beaches Link tunnel plans. The plans also acknowledged the use of Crown Land, on which Balgowlah Golf club is located, as a construction work zone and site of a “link road” to provide access to the tunnel for the residents of the Manly to Seaforth area via a new signalised intersection opposite Balgowlah Boys High School.
Post construction, sections of this land will be returned to recreational use/ parkland.
A motorway operations centre and emissions stack is located within this zone.
Other options for consideration include the choice of worksites on the Wakehurst parkway and provision of a park & ride facility in Seaforth. In developing Council’s own submission to RMS, it is important that Council also facilitate engagement with residents newly engaged with the Beaches Link Tunnel Project to seek their views, ideas and alternatives in order to minimise the impact on these residents and the environment.
To many of these residents the revised design is a surprise and has caught them unawares. These residents have asked Council for assistance in having their voices heard and taken into account.
This includes (but is not limited to) those residents impacted:
during Beaches Link (BL) tunnel construction;
by BL tunnel access and egress and associated infrastructure;
by conversion of Balgowlah Golf Course
by new intersection on Sydney Road outside Balgowlah Boys High School
by choice of worksite on Wakehurst Parkway
by surface road changes near either portal
We want to hear from residents about their ideas on the tunnel and the resulting direct access provided to other parts of Sydney including the Airport, Inner West, Western Suburbs and Macquarie Park. This motion proposes that Council facilitate the collation of northern beaches community views on the Beaches Link Tunnel during September 2018 for the purposes of informing Council’s submission, including:
During the draft Northern Beaches Transport Strategy community consultation
Council’s Traffic & Transport team meeting directly with representatives of local groups to understand their ideas and enable identification of alternative solutions; and
Council host a community forum to enable the local community to provide feedback on the Beaches Link project It proposes that Council advocate to the NSW Government on Council-wide and local impacts and include in the Council submission:
A summary of issues raised by the Northern Beaches community
Active consideration of alternative Balgowlah access design proposals through a systematic process, including a discussion of at least two alternatives
Possible alternatives and/or schemes to unfiltered emission stacks in the Burnt Bridge Creek valley
Further consideration of moving the portal on the Wakehurst Parkway further north and incorporating meaningful crossings for fauna The Beaches Link tunnel project is the most important project facing the Northern Beaches. With our size and scale the Northern Beaches Council can help to influence the final design so it is in accordance with our Community Strategic Plan and its goals. It is imperative that we do everything in our power to get it right for our community. This motion can be largely funded within existing operational budgets. A community forum may require up to $15K to be reallocated from other projects. Council staff have suggested:
Delaying implementation of the short term Manly Vale traffic study actions to mid-2019; or
Reducing the funding for the East West rapid transport feasibility study (currently $100K)
ACTING CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER REPORT In accordance with Council’s Code of Meeting Practice Clause 4.15(a) I offer the following report on this matter to assist Council in the deliberation of this motion: Council has a clear role to play in reviewing the NSW Government’s plans for the Beaches Link tunnel, in listening to and advocating on behalf of the community, and working to ensure the best possible outcome from this important strategic project. Community engagement conducted in developing Councils draft Transport Strategy identified that the community is supportive of the Beaches Link project, subject to the inclusion of public transport in the tunnel and minimising impacts on local residents.
Preparation of a submission to the NSW Government is included in Council’s delivery program for 2018/19. It is intended that the community’s view on the Beaches Link project be gathered through the engagement on the draft Transport Strategy, by staff meeting with residents groups or other concerned parties. Council’s transport network staff are also reviewing the project plans from a traffic viewpoint to provide professional advice to Council on the project and alternative options as part of the submission, planned to be reported to Council for consideration at its October 2018 meeting. As Council is aware, this is a NSW Government project and the RMS is conducting community engagement on behalf of the government. It is considered that a key strategic consideration for Council is that, while Council’s role is to advocate on behalf of the community, holding public community forums has the potential to confuse the RMS’s community engagement program and create the perception that it is Council that is the driver of this project. This motion if adopted by Council can largely be delivered through existing operational budgets. Additional funding of up to $15K would be required for the community forums and the additional resourcing required to appropriately collate and reflect community feedback at these forums. Options for Council’s consideration to fund this activity are delaying implementation of the short term Manly Vale traffic study actions to mid-2019, or reducing the funding for the East West rapid transport feasibility study (currently $100K).