BURLY construction workers are apparently being “intimidated” by the protest signs of mostly elderly residents around the Bayswater train station, who fear the Metronet transformation is robbing them of their green space.
Rose Avenue residents, who’ll lose the little park at the end of their road for a bus interchange, recently penned a 10-point letter asking the McGowan government for assurance the $146 million station upgrade won’t upend their lives, and put up a banner with the fairly innocuous request for “A tree park, NOT a bus park”.
That prompted an email to resident Linh Ly from government contractor Evolve Bayswater, a partnership between Decmil and Coleman Rail; the latter a subsidiary of Spanish conglomerate Acciona which is currently suing the NSW government over cost overruns on the Sydney South East Light Rail project.
Evolve Bayswater asked her to pull down the banner and for residents “not to engage in activities that attack our workforce. Our workforce are not the decision makers and have no capacity to deliver the outcomes you are seeking.”
It asks them to “cease activities designed to intimidate our workforce”.
Ms Ly, who’s lived there 21 years, says she’s not seen any evidence of workers being attacked or intimidated.
The email also references residents across the tracks and a little south who’ve been more pointed in their critique; one Whatley Crescent wall has been spraypainted with the blunt message “Fuck you Metronet”.
That area has already lost many of its mature trees and some residents the Voice spoke to in December were deeply unhappy about the potential of 10 storey buildings abutting their homes.
Following a January 6 meeting between residents and the various state bodies handling the upgrades, residents have sent them a 10-point letter asking about plans to mitigate noise and vibration, air quality and vehicle pollution (buses will be idling a few metres from homes) and any compensation scheme on offer.
Ms Ly, a shift worker, says already the preliminary construction noise has been unbearable and she fears the vibration will damage her home. Construction is due to carry on for two years.
The PTA responded to some of the points in the letter, telling the Voice: “As with any project of this scale, significant infrastructure is required during the construction period to upgrade the station. When complete, surrounding residents will have access to a first-class, well-integrated public transport hub which will create greater opportunities for connectivity and development in the area.
“We do not shy away from the fact that construction of such a significant project can be disruptive, which is why PTA and lead contractor Evolve Bayswater make every effort to reduce the impact of this work on residents in the area.
“Some noise impacts are inevitable. As always, we will notify local residents of what works are happening, particularly when they are out of hours or expected to be noisy. As construction activity is now focused on Whatley Crescent, residents along Rose Avenue should not expect major works close to them until late 2022, at which time they will be notified as per the standard processes.”
The PTA says the new buses are low-emmision and will be travelling slowly through the interchange, hopefully keeping the noise to a minimum.
by DAVID BELL