CBD and South East Light Rail: Tense meeting expected between Transport Minister and Randwick City Councillors this Friday: February 27 2014

The proposed High Cross Park light rail and bus interchange will be a point of major disagreement when Randwick City Councillors visit the NSW Transport Minister tomorrow.

Greens Councillor Murray Matson stated today that he did not accept that the Minister could not feasibly move the interchange westward into nearby High Street to save the park and provide a direct rail stop outside POW Hospital.

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He stated that if the Council and the Government worked together any technical difficulties with a shift to High Street could be overcome. He elaborated,

“The Council believes that there is no valid reason why the light rail interchange could not be moved down into High Street itself thus providing a direct stop for POW. I will be asking the Minister to clearly articulate any technical objections that she might have against a High Street site so that the Council can workshop ways to overcome them to provide a first class public transport system to the CBD.”

Further key inflammatory points are likely to be the loss of trees along Alison Road and a reversal of Council expectations that the Wansey Road section of the rail line would be moved down onto the race course land.

Councillor Matson said,

“I do not think that the Minister appreciates how frustrated Randwick Councillors are getting with what seems to be a blind refusal by the Government to take seriously the re-design proposals that we put forward in our EIS submission to make the proposed light rail line a popular success. We sincerely believe that our suggestions will enhance the public’s acceptance of the light rail line as the best solution for improving public transport between the Council and the CBD.”

At some point after Friday’s meeting the Government will have to approach the Council to gain support for a contract of agreement to use its land and infrastructure for the CSELR project.

In December 2013 Randwick Council made a submission to the Environmental Impact Statement being conducted to test the feasibility of the light rail project. A Council report summarized the problems it identified in the submission as follows.

Summarised in brief, the major design issues raised in the submission are:

  • Objections to the proposed locations of the Randwick and Kingsford interchanges, the alignment on Wansey Road and the location of the proposed Randwick light rail vehicle stabling facility at 66A Doncaster Avenue.
  • Objection to the loss of substantial on-street parking throughout the route and particularly on Anzac Parade, and objection to any reduction in footpath width or pedestrian safety/capacity as a result of the light rail alignment
  • Concern about traffic impacts both on the route and in surrounding streets, and the lack of certainty about future bus changes
  • Concern about the loss of a large number of trees, including significant trees

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