BACK in April there was an outcry when the NSW Government released plans for the Metro West that revealed there would be no stops between Parramatta and Olympic Park.
Earlier proposals for the new rail link connecting Westmead with the Sydney CBD included a stop at Rydalmere or Camellia.
I heard from many locals who were stunned by the Government’s decision to build a “once-in-a-century” project that bypasses many of the people and businesses it’s supposed to serve.
Concerned Parramatta locals made 49 submissions on the plan and more than 1,200 have signed my petition calling for another stop west of Olympic Park.
Now Transport for NSW has all but confirmed it has no intention to change its plans, despite overwhelming support for a station at Rydalmere or Camellia from residents, businesses and local councils.
Their report responding to submissions says adding another stop to the Metro West would cause an unacceptable increase in overall travel time.
This is cold comfort for people living in suburbs spanning the 10km between Parramatta and Olympic Park – an area that’s expected to see explosive growth in residents and businesses over the next 30 years.
It didn’t seem a problem
And it didn’t seem to be a problem when they prioritized four stops on the 16km journey
between Olympic Park and the Sydney CBD.
The report also says communities between Parramatta and Olympic Park will be amply served by the Parramatta Light Rail. But the second stage of the light rail, connecting Camellia to Olympic Park, was canceled in mid-November.
The remaining light rail – which is under construction and causing unprecedented disruption in the CBD and destruction of our streets and heritage – will be left to shuttle back and forth between Carlingford and Westmead.
Part of this route was already served by heavy rail until it was ripped up at the beginning of this year.
This means there will soon be heavy rail, metro rail, AND light rail connections between Westmead and Parramatta, but no rail connections between Parramatta and growth hubs like Ermington and Melrose Park.
That’s not good enough. The Metro West is either for the people of the west, or it’s not.
I’ve written to the Minister for Transport to let him know how important this issue is to our community and I will continue to lobby the NSW Government for another stop.
The plans still need to be approved by the Department of Planning, so it’s not too late to make a difference.
If this matters to you, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org and let them know that Metro West needs another stop to truly serve the people and businesses of Western Sydney.
By Julie Owens, Federal Member for Parramatta.