Monthly Archives: July 2016

As light rail construction moves along Anzac Parade Randwick’s Greens push on with relief money for Kingsford and Kensington – 30th July 2016

Randwick Councillors have once again clashed over a Greens initiated plan to alleviate the impact of the CBD to South East Light Rail project on local residents, businesses and institutions.

Citing the construction work now underway along Anzac Parade Greens Councillor Murray Matson appealed to Councillors not to impede the Council in the allocation of promised amelioration money.

The allocation will be under the Light Rail Support Plan set up by Matson and fellow Greens Councillor Lindsay Shurey in May 2015 as a relief measure.

Last Tuesday night Labor Councillors Tony Bowen and Greg Moore along with Liberal Councillor Robert Belleli unsuccessfully voted to abandon revising the Plan in favour of starting another round of public consultation instead.

This has lead Cr Matson to claim that they imperilled the retainment of High Cross Park. He said,

“The Greens under Councillor Shurey saved High Cross Park by finding an alternative site for the interchange.  The attempted blocking of this money by Councillors Bowne, Moore and Belleli would have seen TfNSW revert to using the park. This is because Council is going to spend $2 million on public domain works for the new interchange site the Greens found in High Street. Without that allocation by Council TfNSW would have called the deal off.”

Cr Matson further accused Cr Belleli and the two Labor Councillors of “ignoring the needs of Kingsford and Kensington” by forgetting that the Support Plan was also intended to buy the old Kingsford Market Site and replicate lost on-street parking. He said,

“I can’t believe that these three Councillors want to go back and repeat public consultation already done now that the construction work has actually started along Anzac Parade. We’ve had consultation with invited representatives of Bike East, South Juniors and various businesses along with ordinary residents sitting on a committee for over a year overseeing the allocation of the relief money. We can’t possibly now tell these key stakeholders and residents that all of sudden we Councillors have changed our minds about helping them even though they can see the construction works underway.”

The latest version of the Light Rail Support Plan  endorsed last Tuesday includes:

  • $2 million for further public domain works directly associated with the light rail line such as traffic signals, traffic changes, and a new transit plaza at the hospital.
  • $0.95 million for additional new public domain areas in Kingsford and Randwick near the light rail interchanges;
  • $10 million for new on-street parking to compensate for lost on-street parking along Alison Road, Anzac Parade and High Street;
  • $30.5 million to purchase land and construct a multistorey car park in Kingsford;
  • $8.5 million to future proof stormwater drains that cross the light rail line along Anzac Parade and downstream.
  • $3.5 East to west aligned bike path connections to the light rail for sustainable mode transfers;
  • $0.5 million for bike lockers; and
  • $5 million for traffic calming in surrounding residential areas;

Also in dispute on the night was a recommendation from the General Manager that Councillors accept a Government offer to sell the Council its share of the old Kingsford Market site for $12.55 million. Councillor Matson said,

“It is a bargain that we can’t let slip by or the Government will revert to its earlier plan to sell the site via auction for possibly $60 million instead of the $12.55 they going to let the Council have it for. We have an international competition going to find the best urban redesign for the Kensington and Kingsford town centres and I want the Market Site available for playing a role in it.”

National Art School (NAS) amalgamation proposal update on Randwick Council response -28th July 2016

Randwick City Council has deferred debate on a recommendation from its Mayor that it commit to support a growing campaign to stop the proposed merger of the National Art School with the University on NSW.

  • Update to previous story on this site.
  • Sydney Morning Herald coverage of the backlash from Sydney’s creative elite.

The recommendation will now be debated in a month’s time and includes a clause to promote an online petition by the Friends of the National Art School.

NAS petition 3In the meantime Greens Councillor Murray Matson states that he will be endorsing the recommendation to neighbouring Councils who form part of the School’s student catchment.

He says, “There would generations of artists who attended the National Art School from the eastern suburbs and inner west of Sydney. In fact ,all of NSW would form its student catchment area. Local Councils should rally to maintain the diversity in art education the NAS offers to their own local art plans.”

Randwick Council Recommendation

That Council:

1. Contact both the Friends of the National Art School (NAS) and the National Art School’s Student Representative Council committing our support for the campaign to end:

  • discussions on a proposed merger of the School;
  • establish comparable Federal support for the NAS to that given NIDA; and
  • to maintain the opportunities in educational diversity offered by the NAS at its current site and management model; and

2. resolves to promote the Friends of the National Art Schools online petition on Council’s own web site and in eNews services.

WestConnex: Randwick City Council votes to invite Inner West Council and City of Sydney Council to participate in a joint legal action – 27-7-2016

Randwick Council voted last night to to inform neigbouring Councils that it is exploring legal issues around a traffic management condition in the ‘WestConnex New M5’ consent and asks then for an in-principle indication of support for a joint legal action.

Part of the successful motion moved by Greens Councillor Murray Matson focuses on condition B43 of the motorway’s consent which rules that the project should’nt on balance be “adversely impacting” on the performance of the road network.

Randwick Green Councillors Lindsay Shurey and Murray Matson at Climate Change Rally

Randwick Green Councillor Murray Matson associates positive action on climate change with reducing Sydney’s motorway construction programs. He seen hear at a 2015 climate rally with fellow Randwick Greens Councillor Lindsay Shurey.

Ron Hoenig MP for Heffron has questioned how this condition can be met and the Randwick Botany Greens are expecting a detrimental impact on their local suburbs of Kensington and Kingsford when the St Peters Interchange component of the motorway is built.

Part of the Council resolution that it:

Requests further augmented advice as to whether the Minister’s freedom under section 115ZK (of the EPA Act 1979) to give approval to condition B43 (of the WestConnex New M5 consent) can be sufficiently written down (i.e. narrowed in interpretation) to allow Council to call for a Judicial Review of the Minister’s administrative decisions concerning the condition.”

Councillor Matson outlined what the Council’s tactics would be should the obtained advice support a challenge. He said,

Randwick Council will call for a Judicial Review to determine if the Minister has failed to consider mandatory relevant considerations including ecologically sustainable development and anthropogenic climate change.

The Randwick-Botany Greens want the Council to try to prevent “rat running in the local suburbs” with Councillor Matson elaborating,

“The Greens will also be urging the Council to challenge whether the setting of the WestConnex EIS conditions under the Minister took due note of the obvious impact on Kensington and Kingsford streets from the extra cars the motorway must disgorge.”

Amalgamation likely to be just the prelude to a sell off of the National Art School site – 23rd July 2016

Randwick Greens Councillor Murray Matson is urging local Sydney Councillors to protest what he claims is a hidden agenda to sell off the Darlinghurst site of the National Art School

He said this morning,

“Every Sydney Council will have had students who went to National Art School and grew as artists. As a local Councillor I can smell a secret plan to sell off this location-rich site. What an appallingly bad artistic blow that would be to our constituents. This would never happen in Melbourne”.

He pointed out that,

“The National Art School has always focused on the craft and by doing so has helped artist who were talented but not good enough with maths and written skills to get into classic tertiary institutions.”

CBD to South East Light Rail construction works: Kingsford loses its Gate Tree and the new Eastern Beaches Council loses what could have been an impressive aesthetic statement for the site of its possible new governance building – 15th July 2016

On Thursday Randwick Council learnt that it had failed in its effort to negotiate a CSELR light rail line change to save the Kingsford Gate Tree as early morning commuters along Anzac Parade discovered it gone.

Last Wednesday's removal of the Kingsford Gate Tree leaves the southern entrance to Kingsford very exposed.

Last Wednesday’s removal of the Kingsford Gate Tree leaves the southern entrance to Kingsford very exposed.

The Kingsford Gate Tree dominates the Southern entry to Kingsford from its position in the median strip of Anzac Parade.

The Kingsford Gate Tree once dominated the Southern entry to Kingsford from its position in the median strip of Anzac Parade.

Greens Councillor Murray Matson who had led the negotiating effort with TfNSW laments the loss to what could be the governance centre for the merger of Randwick, Waverley and Woollahra Councils.

Councillor Matson said today,

“The Kingsford Gate Tree would have been a great visual statement for what the new Council was all about if its centre of governance came to be built on the adjacent Kingsford Market site.”

Refuting misguided claims that the CBD to South East Light Rail (CSELR) project will force a reduction in passenger carrying capacity for Sydney – 14th July 2015

Media Statement by Randwick Greens Councillor Murray Matson.

Southern Courier correspondents John Bellamy and Andrew Roydhouse are mistakenly claiming that public transport capacity in Sydney will be reduced by the CSELR light rail project.

They manage this by firstly asserting that the rail line “will only carry 6,750 passengers an hour” (Bellamy email to Matson, 12 July 2016) despite similar systems around the world being able to carry far more.

Secondly, they ingeniously try to establish as fact a claim that the carrying capacity of 220 currently operating buses will be totally removed from Sydney by the CSELR.

I don’t know about Bellamy and Roydhouse specifically, but other anti-light rail activists have badly misunderstood a key verbal statement in a government promotional video.

This highly sustainable high capacity transport system will ease CBD congestion by helping to remove 220 peak hour buses.” (CBD and South East Light Rail Flythrough, June 2014 – bold added).

One less than careful critic who refers to this quote from the video seems to have misheard the word “helping” as  being “replacing“.

How many busses do the trams replace? The June 2014 video says 220..” ( – bold added)

SMH writer Elizabeth Farrelly in her now infamous hatchet job on the CSELR was probably fed erroneous conclusions by someone who had also made the same hasty hearing mistake.

And the terrible thing is … the new light rail still moves only 6900 people an hour per direction. Compare that with the almost 16,000 passengers an hour in the 220 busses (or 20 routes) the CSELR claims to replace.” (Elizabeth Farrelly, SMH 18th May 2016, bold added)

This allowed the SMH via Farrelly to then arithmetically jump to the appallingly inaccurate conclusion: “So the net effect on public transport capacity into the city is negative. It’s a loss.”

The Herald was quickly jumped on and had to publish the following correction.

The Herald accepts the previously published statement “the net effect on public transport capacity is negative” was incorrect because the 220 buses will be redeployed into the public transport network.” (bold added)

The use of the word “redeployed” makes it clear that the Herald belatedly realized that the busses are not being “replaced” with their carrying capacity to be lost to Sydney.

The EIS for the project describes how in fact this redistribution would create a grid like system of buses feeding into the light rail. Light rail and major bus routes are supported by local bus feeder services to provide easy connections to multiple destinations across the region’s centres.

It would allow the reallocation of buses from a CBD-centric system to a transfer-based grid that better serves other key destinations with higher frequencies throughout the day and night.” (page 29, CSELR_EIS_Volume_2)

The EIS also conclusively refutes Bellamy and Roydhouse’s claims that the CSELR will only move around 6,750 passengers per hour by stating:

Modern light rail vehicles can provide as much as five times more capacity than a traditional bus, while consuming only about twice as much road space … In addition, the light rail solution is easily scalable for peaks in demand as two 45m LRVs have the potential to be coupled to move up to 18,000 people per hour in each direction – to support public transport service to major events.” (page 27, CSELR_EIS_Volume_2)

In summary Bellamy and Roydhouse do not understand that the passengers carried by the 220 to-be-reallocated buses will not be stranded but will be carried either by buses going elsewhere or by the new light rail line which in itself will be capable if required of carrying 18,000 people per hour in each direction. There will be ample capacity in the improved public transport system for Sydney.

Randwick Greens Councillor Murray Matson.

Key Randwick Labor Councillors block Greens urgency motion for a joint Council legal action against WestConnex – 12th July 2016

Labor Councillor Kathy Neilson and Labor Mayor Noel D’Souza have voted to block Green Councillor Murray Matson’s attempt to force an urgency debate on whether Randwick Council should propose joint legal action with neighbouring Councils against the WestConnex.

The late Dr John Kaye, Greens MLC for NSW.

The late Greens MLC John Kaye wanted rail transport and not car congestion produced by motorways.

Liberal Deputy Chair had ruled that the Greens motion was not urgent enough to allow debate to proceed. Councillor Matson responded by moving “dissent” against the Deputy Chair’s ruling which would have had the effect of opening the way for the debate to start. In a surprise move the two Labor Councillors voted with the Liberal party to defeat the dissent attempt.

Councillor Matson states that the Greens will resubmit the proposal to the next Council meeting where it will have to be debated and voted on. He said,

“Randwick Council is already moving to get a traffic study of the likely effect of the traffic impact from the WestConnex on our two suburbs of Kingsford and Kensington. If the finding is that the impact will be adverse, then my lay view is that the Government will not be able to argue that its conditions of consent for the motorway project can be met.”

Public comments posted to SMH article show division in the community over the value of the CBD to South East Light Rail – 12th july 2016

Local Councillors across Sydney will no doubt be pouring over the very contrasting views posted to this pro-CSELR light rail article in the Sydney Morning Herald

CSELR light rail construction work sees removal of Tree of Knowledge with the Kingsford Gate Tree likely to follow today – 11th July 2016

The “Tree of Knowledge” (a co-joined group of fig trees) at the corner or High Street and Wansey Road Randwick was cut down last tonight (Sunday) as part of the CBD to South East Light Rail construction despite efforts by Randwick Green Councillor Murray Matson to put forward a reconfiguration solution.

Randwick's iconic Tree of Knowledge being removed 11th July 2016 during CSELR light rail construction work.

Randwick’s iconic Tree of Knowledge being removed 11th July 2016 during CSELR light rail construction work.

Councillor Matson said last night when hearing of the removal,

“This is a deplorable decision made with no advance warning to Randwick City Council which was trying to broker a fine-tuning of the rail to miss the tree. I personally had a meeting with TfNSW and UNSW in an attempt to work out a possible solution whereby the line could have been shifted to run through some adjacent university owned property on the corner of High and Wansey. The Council understood that the Tree of Knowledge was not scheduled to be removed until November and was trying to work with the Government in good fail to achieve a win for the community. We received no warning that this understanding was not going to be honoured by tonight’s action.”

The Kingsford Gate Tree could canopy the southern entrance to the new eastern suburbs Council but seems likely to be removed today or tonight.

The Kingsford Gate Tree could canopy the southern entrance to the new eastern suburbs Council but seems likely to be removed today or tonight.

Councillor Matson reports that it now appears that preparations are being removed to remove a second iconic tree known as the Kingsford Gate Tree today or tonight from its site adjacent to South Juniors on Anzac Parade in Kingsford. He said today,

“Removal seems imminent as fencing has been erected around the Kingsford Gate Tree with workers patrolling inside. I have to accept that a meeting I had with TfNSW about this tree will also come to nothing despite putting forward another possible solution.”

As an elected Councillor I have to ask myself what is the point of trying to meet the Government halfway to ameliorate the impact of new public transport infrastructure if we continually get treated like we are the enemy.

Returned federal politicians can exploit close call of last Saturday’s election to build parliamentary resistance to the WestConnex – 7th July 2016

The Green say that whatever Commonwealth Government formed from last Saturday’s election upheaval should hold off funding stage two of the WestConnex until Randwick Council finishes relevant traffic studies.

Councillor Murray Matson says that,

“Federal MPs will never have a better time than right now to demand commitments from their desperate parliamentary leaders to prevent suburbs like Kingsford and Kensington being flooded with extra cars.”

Next Tuesday night the Greens will attempt to move an urgency motion that Randwick approaches the City of Sydney and the new Inner West Council seeking joint legal action against the WestConnex.

Councillor Matson said,

“Last month Councillors agreed to support my motion that Randwick should explore grounds for legal action on behalf of our Kingsford and Kensington residents. This week we heard that the Inner West Council administrator will also look into possibly action. Our residents would expect their Randwick Councillors to now move quickly to be part of that.”

A key component of Stage Two of the WestConnex will be the building of an interchange at St Peters which will allow the motorway’s cars to impact on Kensington and Kingsford via exits into Gardeners and Epsom Roads.

Councillor Matson has already successfully moved that Randwick Council obtain traffic modelling on the increased traffic effects. He said,

“I am expecting that we will see extra cars moving through Kensington’s Lenthal Street from the interchange’s Epsom Road exit and into Kingsford from the Gardeners Road exit. Rat running through these suburbs could well be induced once the new drivers encounter obstacles to flow like the Kingsford roundabout and the CBD to South East Light Rail line.”