Don’t let the New State Government dump the GreenWay

From Friends of the Greenway:

Friends of the Greenway today called on the NSW Government to commit to funding and implementing the 5km long Iron Cove to Cooks River GreenWay, as an integral component of the light rail extension from Lilyfield to Dulwich Hill.

Friends of the Greenway Convenor Jud Agius said the GreenWay is a 15-year vision to turn the former goods line into a bushland and integrated active transport corridor for walking, cycling and light rail, linking the Cooks River with Sydney Harbour.

“It is vital that the new Government follows through on funding for the GreenWay, so that the benefits of this integrated transport project are realised. Integrating the GreenWay with the light rail was a commitment made by the previous Labor Government, and it is what the community are saying they want” he said.

The GreenWay will include a shared pedestrian and cycle path and regeneration of a diverse bush corridor, alongside the light rail route.

The regeneration will assist with the recovery of the threatened population of the Long-nosed Bandicoot which has been found living in the corridor.

The former NSW Government committed around $20-30 million for the GreenWay, less than one fifth of the total project budget of $150m for both the light rail and GreenWay. Despite requests by Friends of the Greenway and the Councils, the new State Government has not confirmed GreenWay funding, while committing to funding the light rail.

“We are now hearing rumours from credible sources that the GreenWay funding is to be cut in the State budget to be released in September. We are calling on residents of the Inner West to let the State Government know we want the GreenWay as much as the light rail, and it must not cut the GreenWay’s funding.” Mr Agius said.

“The GreenWay will be a show case for a people-friendly Sydney, and a glimpse of what a sustainable Sydney could look like in the 21st Century, with walking and cycling happening alongside sustainable public transport. In fact the GreenWay will increase patronage for the light rail.” Mr Agius said.

“The GreenWay is a once in a generation opportunity that we cannot afford to lose. It will be much more difficult and a poorer outcome, if the GreenWay is not built and designed at the same time as the light rail.”

“The GreenWay vision was actually around long before light rail was even mooted, so the current refusal of the NSW Government to commit to it is very concerning.

“Without the GreenWay, we’ll simply be turning an industrial goods line corridor into an industrial light rail corridor and leaving a degraded, weed-infested area around the line. With all the new medium density housing going into the area this would be a sub-standard result for the area.”

Mr Agius said the GreenWay would have many advantages including:

  • Helping to increase patronage of the light rail, by linking regional cycling and walking routes (such as the Parramatta to Botany Bay route along the Cooks River and Bay Run to City route) with the light rail operation;
  • Creating a regional active transport corridor linking with Sydney’s CBD for the growing (and ageing) population of not only the Inner-West, but surrounding Sydney sub-regions;
  • Providing much-needed open space for the community, volunteer bushcare groups and habitat for local flora and fauna;
  • Protecting an Endangered Population of bandicoot, and establishing a green bush corridor though a highly urbanised part of Sydney;
  • Getting people out of their cars and on to other sustainable transport forms – reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting Sydney as a sustainable city;
  • Providing an opportunity for children to walk or cycle safely to school, with some 23 schools within the GreenWay catchment area. The State Government and Councils have already created this expectation with parents and teachers in the area.

Mr Agius thanked Ashfield, Marrickville, Canterbury and Leichhardt Councils for their ongoing support of the GreenWay.

“The Councils have been doing a fantastic job, advocating for the GreenWay and promoting it to the community. There are many Council run projects already underway in the GreenWay that have involved several thousand residents and school kids.” Mr Agius said.

In 2009, the NSW Government provided a $1.8m Urban Sustainability Grant to Ashfield Council on behalf of the four Councils to help build community support for the GreenWay. In addition, the Government has given a number of grants to help plan for the corridor.

The ‘2nd Greenway Festival’ from 23-29 October 2011 is being organised by the Urban Sustainability team based at Ashfield Council.

To write to the Premier and Minister for Transport, download campaign letters at www.friendsofthegreenway.org.au

For more information about the Greenway go to www.greenway.org.au

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