As people have been asking for more details, here are some of the ways the light rail response to our submission has let us down:
Our main submission point was that the route should be reconfigured to avoid a serious impact on Robin Thomas and provide a better environment for Parramatta residents into the future. We proposed a particular reconfiguration related to, but different from the option 4 in the EIS. Their response talks about the various EIS options but not our particular proposal. (See section 5.8.2, page 5-74, section, Page 126 in the response PDF). They note:
- That it would negatively impact traffic on George Street:
- But our proposed route is along side George Street, not on it, so this does not make sense! Something we reinforced when we met with them.
- That it would impact the operation of the intersection of George/Harris/MacArthur Streets.
- We had pointed out that this is likely manageable via rail linked traffic lights, similar in the way the Buses are handled at some intersections. No attempt was made to discuss this or show why it wasn’t possible.
- That our proposal negatively impacts the “heritage listed Albion Hotel”
- The Albion Hotel is NOT heritage listed. Publically available information we have found is proposing the building be removed and replaced by a large office tower and a totally new Hotel building. But Robin Thomas Reserve is heritage listed, and our proposal would reduce the impact on that heritage.
- That it would negatively impact the development site on the corner of Macquarie Street and Harris Street.
- This is just plain wrong. Our proposal does impact this large block, but on the Argus Lane and George Street sides. And as we pointed out, that site is currently empty and it is a once in a generation opportunity to make better use of the block. Since we made our submission several ideas for minimizing the cost of our proposal in this area have become apparent and there are plenty of possibilities – as the block is empty!
Additionally, on the 1st of March, before the Planning Department has responded to the EIS, a contractor for light rail arrived at Robin Thomas Reserve to drill test bore holes along the line of “their” preferred route option. This has us very worried the decision has already been made.