Tag Archives: Cycling

Cooks River No Swimming Carnival a success

Greens Councillors joined with local residents this weekend at the ‘No Swimming Carnival’, to raise awareness of the ongoing campaign to make the Cooks River safe for swimming again.

The Cooks River is a significant landmark in the Marrickville Council area. Originally a natural river, which became an industrial sewer, the Cooks River has been tranformed in recent years through the coordinated efforts of local residents, environment groups, bush care, State agencies and the various Councils in the river’s catchment.

The rehabilitation of the Cooks River and its banks has been a priority for the Greens on Marrickville Council, who were successful in establishing the Cooks River Committee in 2006. Council’s support has included native plantings, wetlands, salt marshes, swales and permeable embankments, as well as investment in building/ upgrading the shared walkway along the river.

However there is still much work to be done. An ongoing concern is the continued flow of sewerage and stormwater into the river. Following active lobbying by residents and Council there has been significant investment achieved through Sydney Water and the Sydney Metropolitan Catchment Management Authority, to improve wastewater systems and to complete the (re)naturalisation of the banks along the river.

The No Swimming Carnival organised by the Cooks River Valley Association on Sunday 24 February 2013 highlighted that much more needs to be done if the river is to become swimmable within the next 10 years. Water testing undertaken by the Association shows continued high levels of bacteria in the river. There are also high levels of rubbish (especially plastic bottles) and a stench from the river in certain stretches.


The Cooks River Valley Association released a postcard at the event which shows the Cooks River Valley Lifeguards – who operated from the 1930s. Some of the participants in Sunday’s event recalled swimming in the river up until the 1950s.

swimming postcard

The Greens share the aim of making the Cooks River swimmable again, and will continue to work with the community, other local Councils and State agencies to ensure proper investment to make this happen.

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

How to get better pedestrian access across the Cooks River? Build a bridge!

Sign the petition here

A new campaign has started in South Marrickville to get better, safer pedestrian access across the Cooks River. The Cooks has rapidly improved and the community is responding to the river’s new, greener status by using its banks for recreation and alternative transport.

There are still some black spots and one of these is Unwins Bridge, Tempe. As can be seen in the photos below, the north-western side of the bridge doesn’t have pedestrian access. Those people who use the riverside pathways on the banks at this point are forced on to busy Bayview St. This is dangerous and unnecessary.

The Greens on Marrickville Council want to improve the safety and amenity of the river and are calling on the state government to help make Unwins Bridge more pedestrian friendly. Fixing this is a real “no brainer”. Many people in the South Marrickville/Tempe area agree this simple measure would vastly improve safety and accessibility. Add  your name to the online petition http://www.gopetition.com/petition/40571.html, or, email Clr Peter Olive on polive@marrickville.nsw.gov.au

This map shows two possible locations for a new foot bridge across the Cooks River: Unwins Bridge, Tempe (see above photos) and at Warren Park, South Marrickville. Either or both of these options would be deliver a great result for the surrounding community and sit very well with Council’s policies on pedestrian access, bike infrastructure, public transport usage and amenity.

Greens in the Senate deliver Cooks River cycle path funding

Media Release  15 October 2009

The $200,000 of federal stimulus money that has been directed towards the Cooks River Regional Bicycle Route was a result of the Australian Greens in the Senate negotiating the passage of the stimulus bill earlier this year.bicycle-symbol

The Greens secured $40 million extra for bicycle infrastructure, as well as funds for heritage protection and home efficiency measures, as part of the stimulus package.

“This is a fantastic result for Marrickville and bicycle infrastructure and goes to show The Greens get results when we hold the balance of power, “said Greens Councillor Max Phillips

“Building infrastructure such as cycleways is a better use of stimulus money than cash hand-outs and I’m proud that The Greens secured this investment in sustainable infrastructure,” he said.

Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown says that hundreds of kilometres of bike ways and hundreds of jobs were secured when the Australian Greens negotiated the $40 million bike ways package as part of the $42 billion economic stimulus measures in February this year.

Launching the package with Australian Greens Deputy Leader and the Minister for Infrastructure Anthony Albanese today, Senator Brown said: “the project will be matched with $40 million from local government and other entities and will be part of a massive bike way and pedestrian building program in Australia if the Greens proposals are carried through.”

“Bike ways are as good for personal health as they are for the planet. Bike ways reduce obesity, improve health and keep us in touch with the outdoors. The Greens would like to see no new roadways constructed without bike ways being part of the construction.”

“We have recommended to the government the Dutch formula of at least 1 per cent of transport funding being allocated to funding bike ways and improved pedestrian access. That doesn’t sound much but it is enough to transform Australian cities with bike ways.”

“There are dozens more bike way proposals wanting for funding and development which the Greens will be pursuing. I congratulate the Rudd government and the Minister for Infrastructure for taking up this Greens proposal,” Senator Brown said at the Intercity Cycleway in Claremont.

Media contact:

Greens Leader Bob Brown – Peter Stahel 0433 005 727

Councillor Max Phillips  0419 444 916

Greenway and Light Rail can and should co-exist: Greens


Media release

30 September 2009

The Marrickville Greens councillors today voiced their belief that the old Dulwich Hill goods line corridor has enough room for lightrail, cyclists, pedestrians and nature.

“A combination of light rail, bikes and pedestrians has always been a vision supported by The Greens, Marrickville Council and the surrounding community,” said Marrickville Greens Councillor, Max Phillips.

“Light rail and active pedestrian areas co-exist all over the world, including Melbourne and in Sydney’s China Town.  The Greens want to see these uses co-exist along the Greenway route.

“I think the only impediment to this project being a success for these transport modes is state government funding.”

“Marrickville and other Councils have agreed to part fund a feasibility study and participate in the steering committee, though with the understanding that they were satisfied with the study’s terms of reference.”

“Unfortunately, the study brief was advertised by the State Government without an initial meeting of the steering committee or an opportunity for input into the study brief.

“Any feasibility study should include all configuations for consideration.  It would be silly to discard any particular option before having an objective look at the facts and feasibility.

“We should be looking at maximizing the use of the corridor for both light rail and cycle path and a green link between the Cooks River and Iron Cove.

“The Greens are confident that any compatibility issues between the light rail, bikes and pedestrians can be overcome with engineering or operational solutions.

“The Greens want  to ensure the feasibility study goes ahead with an eye for achieving the best outcome for residents of the Inner West.”

Contact: Councillor Max Phillips 0419 444 916


State Treasurer asleep at the wheel on light rail

Greens MP Lee Rhiannon this week asked the state treasurer Eric Roozendaal whether there was any money in the state budget for the extension of light rail from Lilyfield to Dulwich Hill. light-rail

As you can see from the Hansard transcript below, the treasurer wasn’t sure.

They’re also pursuing the immature tactic of extracting money from the hard-up local councils before they’ll put in a cent.  A strange tactic given the state government is meant to fund public transport.


Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Lee RhiannonMs LEE RHIANNON: I direct my question to the Treasurer. Will the Treasurer explain why no specific additional funding has been made available in yesterday’s budget for a study into the extension of light rail from its current terminus in Lilyfield to Dulwich Hill? Is the Treasurer aware of the funding source or mechanism alluded to by the transport Minister, David Campbell, in his media statement yesterday in which he said the Government will fund its own study from the existing budget? Will the Treasurer assure local councils that have agreed to make $60,000 available for planning the extension that the State Government will provide its own contribution for the feasibility study in the coming financial year? Is he aware that the proposal for light rail in this corridor included substantial commitments to cycling and pedestrian facilities, and will the Government ensure that this much-needed active transport infrastructure is fully funded?

Eric RoozendaalThe Hon. ERIC ROOZENDAAL: The honourable member’s question is in relation to light rail and the viability study. From memory, I believe we said if the councils make their contributions available we would match that contribution. I will get some further information on the present position.

UPDATE: The treasurer came back the next day with a more detailed response:

18 June 2009
Eric RoozendaalThe Hon. ERIC ROOZENDAAL: Yesterday I was asked a question by Ms Lee Rhiannon relating to a study for the proposed extension of the light rail system in Sydney. As many would be aware, there has been community interest in a proposal to extend the current light rail operation to Summer Hill and possibly Dulwich Hill.

The Government will be undertaking an assessment of extending the existing light rail system. The study will look into a range of issues involved in the proposal to expand the light rail, including the costs, the infrastructure requirements and the likely patronage it would attract.

The Minister for Transport advises that many other possible uses will be considered as part of the study, such as cycleway and walking trail options. I understand the Minister has written to the mayors of Leichhardt, Ashfield and Marrickville in this regard. With a firm commitment from those councils the Government will be able to proceed with this study. The Minister advises me he has not received formal responses from the councils at this stage. I am advised the study will take approximately six months to complete.

It’s still not clear if there is any money assigned in the budget for the feasibility study.  However, it is good news that cycling and walking paths will be considered as part of the study.

UPDATE 2: Lee Rhiannon has put this press release out about this issue.

See Eco Transit’s website for more detail about the proposed light rail campaign.

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