Proposed Stormwater Drainage Systems
As an elected Councillor representing our community, I have major concerns with proposed stormwater drainage systems and firsthand experience. There are numerous negative impacts of the open stormwater drainage systems currently being implemented despite residents’ objections.
After numerous complaints from residents over several years, I convinced Council that it needs to obtain community feedback before implementing stormwater drainage systems in new development areas such as Austral, Rossmore and Bringelly.
Residents need to be aware of existing systems and their impacts on nearby residential developments.
Systems similar to those in the slides above exist at Horningsea Park, Hinchinbrook and Middleton Grange. There are obvious disadvantages of the open drainage systems in current use. However, State Government regulations impose constraints on Councils that are not necessarily in the best interest of the community.
As an elected Councillor I will be opposing the open drain stormwater system with their many negative effects on the community, let alone the huge maintenance costs to Council and ratepayers.
Open drain systems, including flood detention basins exist at Amalfi Park, Middleton Grange and incomplete drainage sections at Bedwell lake near Horningsea Park.
An example of the “low flow piped” system was built in Horningsea Park (circa 2004) at Sarah Hollands Drive. It provides easy to maintain grassy recreational areas during dry periods and is used extensively by local residents. During major flood events flood waters flow above ground within the stormwater channels, without damaging the grass covered channel. These channels are easy to maintain at comparative little cost compared to the necessary bi-annual reed cutting clearing of the open drain channels proposed in new development areas.
Examples of housing estates using a combination of underground low-flow-pipes and above ground stormwater channels exist at St Clair near Saint Marys. It has existed without problems since the 1990s. However, the State Government and environmental lobby groups have turned the State Governments against those systems claiming more needs to be done to ensure clean water flows into creeks and rivers. To that end concrete lined canals are no longer the preferred option, instead open drainage channels with vegetation (riparian zones) are preferred options, notwithstanding that they are a haven for rats, snakes, mice, mosquitos and generally are major rubbish traps that require specialised mechanical equipment to regularly cut and remove overgrown vegetation.
In addition, there are major health problems during hot summers when drains dry out and cause unpleasant odours due to rotting vegetation and dead animals. They also attract Ibis into residential areas causing additional unpleasant issues.
Based on existing systems, once open drain systems have been constructed, they cannot be updated, improved or retrofitted without enormous financial costs to Council and ratepayers, as such they are unlikely to upgraded. That is why it needs to done once, done properly and in the best interests of the community.
Councillor Peter Harle
Peak hour in Austral is so bad, commuters are driving on the wrong side of the road to avoid it
ABC Western Sydney By Tony Ibrahim -Posted Fri 12 Mar 2021
One of Australia's fastest-growing suburbs is caught in a development dilemma where the surging construction of homes is swamping local roads.
Austral is just 13 kilometres away from the under-construction Western Sydney Airport
Austral is not on a train line and the closest station is 4km away
A planned corridor upgrade isn't expected for years
The problem at Austral, 42 kilometres south-west of Sydney, has become so dire that some drivers are swerving onto the wrong side of the road to avoid bottlenecks, which locals say add 30 minutes to a peak-hour commute.
About 30,000 homes are being built in the suburb, with the finishing touches being put on roughly 100 each week.
Dozens of property developers are overseeing the project, but many of the roads they've pledged are yet to be built.
"With all these developments happening, there are just houses shooting up left, right and centre, and the roads can't handle it," said Rebecca Chan, who has lived in the area for two decades.
"[State and local governments] really need to halt on the development a bit and think about how they're going to work out all the roads."
The NSW government has identified Sydney's south-west as a major growth area and Austral is just 13km from the under-construction Western Sydney Airport.
Drivers travelling towards Sydney's CBD hit a gridlock on Qantas Boulevard and Fifteenth Avenue — a road Liverpool Council is campaigning to make a main artery to the new airport.
Blaring horns are commonplace during peak hours and, in a visit last week, the ABC witnessed several drivers crossing into oncoming traffic in a bid to skip the queue.
Austral is not on a train line and the closest station — Leppington — is about 4km away.
The suburb was rezoned for redevelopment by the NSW government, but the two roads are managed by Liverpool Council.
At the most recent council meeting, councillor Peter Harle urged developers to stop building homes so crucial road infrastructure could be upgraded.
"It's getting worse every week, so obviously something needs to be done and it needs to be done fairly soon," he said.
"The government needs to step in, so has council the ability to say, 'no, we won't allow any more developments until the feeder roads are built?'"
Council officials "absolutely agreed" the traffic was an issue, but said they couldn't tell approved developers to stop building houses and work on the roads.
The ABC contacted nine large developers in the Austral area for comment. One responded.
The Village Building Company, which is developing 406 homes in its Realm and Meadows estates, "reconstructed" the existing roads at the front of its Austral developments, chief executive Travis Doherty said.
The developer paid about $14 million as infrastructure contributions to local and state governments, Mr Doherty said.
The funds are meant to cover roads, footpaths, stormwater drains, public transport, schools and more.
Investigations into upgrading Fifteenth Avenue have been underway for years.
Liverpool Council and Transport for NSW is spending $4.8 million exploring ways to connect the road to the Aerotropolis — the business and industrial developments around the Western Sydney Airport.
"The corridor planning and design process will consider the current and future transport and traffic requirements including road, active transport and rapid bus services," a Transport for NSW spokesperson said.
The corridor is expected to feature four new lanes, but two of them would be dedicated to trackless trams or autonomous vehicles shuttling people to the new airport.
These upgrades are years away and won't help alleviate the gridlock in the interim.
Then there's the matter of Qantas Boulevarde, which presently has no upgrades confirmed.
Liverpool Council wants Fifteenth Avenue to be "reclassified as a state road" — and under the NSW government's control — due to the surge in traffic.
And it's hoping to avoid similar issues on larger developments by treating Austral as a case study.
"There are 30,000 odd houses planned in Austral and it's going to continue to grow," David Smith said, the council's acting director of city economy and growth.
"We don't want to see the same issues happening in Austral happening on a big scale in the Aerotropolis."
The Liverpool City Council Animal Shelter
The Liverpool City Council Animal Shelter (LAS) had a bumpy ride through Council processes. I have always supported the LAS to be homed in Liverpool ever since the issue came to Council. I have also suggested that it be located on Council owned land at Rossmore Grange to reduce the overall costs to Council and ratepayers, that was supported by all Councillors.
It is an emotional and sensitive issue for all concerned not the least being the animals affected.
Council is currently in the process of re-zoning a portion of Rossmore Grange to be used as the new home for the LAS, existing zoning does not allow it.
For better or worse that process will take some time and hence the need for temporary accommodation at the Rossmore VET Centre.
I have visited the centre several times and find it is well run and under present circumstances the best overall solution.
LAS successfully returned/homed around 600 dogs last year, sadly 38 were euthanised for a variety of reasons.
These issues will be debated and ratified by the Companion Animals Committee set up this year, hopefully that explains my position on the LAS and its future direction.
Cllr Peter Harle
Pictured here babysitting my very spoilt Grandog Isabella
Australia Day during COVID with Rotary
Australia Day 2021, I had the honour to help out my wife Janice and The Rotary Club of Liverpool greenway to deliver 3300 Lamingtons to the frontline workers today for the work they do each and every day in our community.
In celebration of AustraliaDay, Rotary Clubs from greater Sydney to the Illawarra have handed out 20,000 lamingtons to frontline emergency workers to thank them for their outstanding efforts.
All Lamingtons were purchased locally. vouchers for coffee given out for local cafes. Anything that could be done towards the day such as printing and stationery were done through local businesses. Our club delivered to the Liverpool Hospital, The State Emergency Service at Casula and the Syndey Childrens Hospital.
The Australia day Council gave $8 million in grants to local government and community organisations to make sure Australia Day Events could go ahead in a safe COVID conducted way.
Stricter Plans for Trolleys
Stricter shopping trolley policies could be in place soon after a motion was passed at Liverpool Council’s September meeting which outlined plans to investigate a new system which would hold trolley owners responsible and aid in environmental pollution.
The motion was raised by environmental advocate, councillor Peter Harle.
He said trolleys not only pollute rivers and streets but they’ve also cost the council thousands a year to have removed.
“Trolleys are dumped in rivers and end up trapping rubbish that flow down the storm water channels and makes it difficult for council staff to clean it out,” he said.
“It’s been a problem for 15 years – every state in Australia has had the same problem and it’s cost Liverpool Council thousands a year.” He said the council tried implementing strategies in the past but they proved ineffective.
“Years ago our council would collect them in the streets and take them to the depot and if the owners of the trolleys wanted them back they needed to pay a returning fee.
“Council ended up with well over 100 trolleys and didn’t have space to store them. They rusted and were taken to the metal recyclist.”
Liverpool council will now explore a range of initiatives to reduce the negative effects of abandoned shopping trolleys.
The options include looking at planning laws requiring shopping centres to confine shopping trolleys within a designated area and exploring legal avenues such as fines to prevent shopping trolleys being abandoned.
They are also preparing a motion for the Local Government Conference of 2019 and preparing a report to amend the Development Control Plan (DCP) to require businesses with more than 20 trolleys to use coins or wheel locks.
“What they’re doing in Ipswich, Queensland is there is a litter fine so they treated abandoned trolleys as litter. They’d fine the owners of the abandoned trolleys because they have to be identifiable by law,” Cr Harle said.
“That made the owners responsible and they installed a system where they could not be taken out of designated areas and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
Cr Harle said trolleys don’t belong on footpaths.
“Our streets aren’t made for them. There are people with wheelchairs and women with baby strollers. It’s only a matter of time before these trolleys cause an accident.”
At the council meeting Cr Nathan Hagarty mentioned trolleys were used by low socio-economic families who might not have access to a car.
Liverpool mayor Wendy Waller said there were other options available to residents including wheely-shopping-bags.