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SSC Newspaper : February 2014
6 Strathfield Scene FEBRUARY 2014 NEWS By Nahrain John Youspend two years going through the process of submitting proposals and negotiating with builders to construct the perfect home. Your dream home. Every detail of the house, even the door handles, is a reflection of what you always wanted for the house you’ll spend the rest of your life in. After 12 months you’re finally settled in and then a letter arrives. “The NSW Government will, based on the concept design, need to acquire this property ... we would like to organise a meeting with you.” It may sound like a Hollywood blockbuster script, but for 57-year-old Homebush resident and widower Paul Lidbury it’s very much a reality. He is one of nine home owners living on Ismay Avenue and two on Underwood Road in Homebush to have received a WestConnex acquisition letter before Christmas. According to the notice, the land on which the 11 properties are located is required for construction of the M4 East – an underground three-lane tunnel from the M4 to Parramatta Road and City West Link, Haberfield. “I was away on a work trip when the Government announced it was ‘I JUST BUILT MY DREAM HOME, NOW IT MUST BE PULLED DOWN’ Paul Lidbury with the home he must lose to make way for the M4 East. In brief GOLF COURSE Hudson Park improvements The Hudson Park Golf Course will have a new taskforce looking into ways to improve the facilities. Deputy Mayor Councillor Sang Ok and Cr Gulian Vaccari raised the motion, and were appointed as chair and co-chair. They said the facilities needed to be better utilised. “There is a lot of potential for this space to be used as it is a great recreational area,” said Cr Ok. All councillors nominated for the taskforce, which will have its first meeting by the end of Februar y and report back to the council by its September meeting. PLANNING Private certifier worries Strathfield Council will be writing to the Auburn, Drummoyne, Bankstown and Strathfield MPs about the current building compliance code. The current legislation allows accredited certifiers to approve large developments, but the council maintains certifiers need more qualifications. “Strathfield prides itself on quality development, worthy of our area,” said Councillor Gulian Vaccari. “And this is to protect residents who have been cheated by building certifiers.” BUSINESS New app for small businesses Small businesses in Strathfield and Homebush will receive a free government online ser vice that reduces red tape and compliance costs for employers who need to pay their staff superannuation. Reid MP Craig Laundy said the Tax Office would take over the program, called the Small Business Superannuation Clearing House. The initiative is for businesses of 19 employees or less.. ROADS Arnott’s Bridge crash A fully loaded truck crashed into the Arnott’s Railway Bridge in North Strathfield after the driver is believed to have underestimated the height and became stuck. The truck was carrying seven cars when it struck the bridge. acquiring houses for the project,” he said. “When I arrived a week or so later we had received one.” Mr Lidbury said his reaction to the letter was one you’d expect. Shock and disappointment. “I’d just gone through the process of deciding where I wanted to live for the rest of my life and what I wanted it to look like and all of a sudden I have to go through it all again,” he said. Mr Lidbury purchased the property on Ismay Avenue 11 years ago. He and his late wife purchased it as an investment property, while the couple, along with their two sons, lived in a house in Strathfield. A little over two years ago, Mr Lidbury decided he and his younger son, 21-year-old Alain, needed a change. His wife had died and his elder son had moved out. “I decided to sell our Strathfield house, knock down the old house on Ismay Avenue and build a new one, designed for me and my son,” he said. Two years later, the single-storey, two-bedroom and one-garage house was transformed into a double-storey, four-bedroom, one-theatre and triple-garage home. “It’s not terribly flashy,” he said. “But I designed and built it for my needs and for my hobbies. “My hobby is restoring old cars, so we now have extra garages to cater to that. When you’re building what is probably going to be your last house you tend to put in everything you want in a home.” Although he’s losing his dream home, Mr Lidbury said he also felt sympathy for the people who had not received an acquisition offer. “They have to go through the construction [of the M4 East] and you don’t know what type of environment they’re going to be left with,” he said. Among those left behind are the Roper-Tyler family. Jeremy and Aurelia and their seven-year-old twin boys live right next door to the two properties being acquired on Underwood Road and directly behind three of the nine houses being acquired on Ismay Avenue. Mrs Roper-Tyler said it was “very daunting” living right next door to what is soon going to be a major construction site. By Nahrain John Strathfield and Drummoyne MPs Charles Casuscelli and John Sidoti have submitted a recommendation to the WestConnex Delivery Authority board and the NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell for the acquisition of properties directly affected by the new motorway. The recommendation, delivered this month, identifies an undisclosed number of houses in Homebush and Concord that will be impacted by the construction of the M4 East but were not included in the homes that will be acquired by WestConnex. About 100 home owners received compulsory acquisition letters from WestConnex late last year. Among them were houses in Underwood Road and Ismay Avenue, Homebush. And while these residents have been given an opportunity to negotiate compensation and leave, those who didn’t receive a letter are left with concerns about pollution, noise and a potential drop in property values. In some cases, like Daly Avenue in Concord, all but a handful of homes on the street are being acquired. Buy every house, say MPs The MPs have suggested that the authority considers providing relief to those property owners through voluntary acquisition. “ We identified a number of homes in the immediate vicinity of new infrastructure that would be directly impacted,” Mr Casuscelli said. “They’re houses that will receive substantial impact during and possibly after construction. “If the recommendation is approved it will give home owners an opportunity to sell their properties to the Government.” Mr Sidoti first introduced the recommendation at a WestConnex rally in Concord last month, which attracted about 280 residents. Mr Sidoti told the Scene that it was an “imbecilic approach to leave a few houses behind on a street that’s being almost completely bought out”. “These people are going to end up living in an environment that they didn’t originally pay to live in and they’ll be worse off,” he said. “They have to be compensated by offering to buy out their property. It’s a no-brainer.” Mr Sidoti suggested that once construction was complete, the Government could resell the houses if they are still in a good state or knock them down and build public housing. “The sale of this land will fund the chronic shortage of houses in the Inner West,” he added. “ We’re proposing to turn negatives into positives, to turn uncertainty into certainty. It will be a win-win for all.” Meanwhile, a WestConnex Delivery Authority spokesperson said the M4 East concept design was still subject to consultation and work will be done to minimise disruption to families living close to construction. “ Where a property is affected but there is no property acquisition required, the project team will work to minimise or mitigate the impact through measures like noise walls or landscaping,” the spokesperson said. The WestConnex Delivery Authority is taking feedback from local people to help finalise the M4 East design. Submissions will be accepted until February 17, 2014. Information sessions are also being held for residents – on Sunday, February 9, 9am to 1pm, at Paddy’s Markets, Homebush West, and Wednesday, February 12, 9am to 1pm, at Hungry Lions Cafe, Homebush. Strathfield Council is to make representations to the WestConnex Delivery Authority in relation to Stage 1 of the project, which includes the widening of the M4 from Parramatta to Homebush Bay Drive. The key issues include concerns over traffic congestion, transport, air quality, tunnel ventilation stacks, noise, the visual impact of the motorway and associated infrastructure, the effects on adjacent properties, flooding threats and cost to residents. Charles Casuscelli speaks at the WestConnex protest meeting.