Public Transport Infrastructure - Ashmore Development

13th June 2012

Dear Minister

Public Transport Infrastructure - Ashmore Development, Erskineville

The Friends of Erskineville (FOE) is a registered not for profit resident association which is dedicated to serving the interests of the Erskineville suburban community in order to facilitate the provision of amenities, and to enhance the urban infrastructure and living environment of our suburb.


I refer to the development of the Ashmore Precinct which is currently under

consideration by the City of Sydney.


The Ashmore site is an area of 17 hectares in Erskineville bounded by Ashmore Street, Mitchell Road, Coulson Street and the Bankstown railway line. Based on available evidence, the development of this site is planned to accommodate over 3500 dwellings in 45 blocks and house in excess 6000 people - an influx of residents that will double the present population of Erskineville.


Our concern is that in its planning the City has not taken into account public transport infrastructure requirements. Whilst we understand that such requirements are a matter for state government, we have urged the city not to proceed with allowing development until the public transport infrastructure needs have been identified and addressed. We have advised the city that a written implementation plan needs to be developed with timelines for implementation of that plan, and a firm commitment in writing to adhere to that plan. Unfortunately it would appear to us that the city is content to write letters to the State government on the matter, but at the same time is proceeding with review and approval of development applications to allow construction to commence without a firm plan to address the issue of public transport infrastructure.


At this time, Railcorp's own figures appear to indicate that peak hour trains operating from Erskineville Railway Station are loaded to a capacity of between 150% and 180%. Indeed it is often the experience of residents that they are unable to get on to a train and have to wait for the next train to arrive in the hope of gaining a position. Added to this is a bus timetable that does not appear to work to the advantage of residents in peak periods and it becomes immediately evident that the public transport infrastructure as it exists today is already in crisis - and this crisis exists based on current population figures and without any consideration being given to the explosion in population that will occur with the development of the Ashmore site.


Residents are rightfully concerned that we do not end up in a similar mess to that which presently exists in the neighboring suburb of Alexandria due to the complete lack of planning and co-ordination surrounding parking and public transport issues associated with the Australian Technology Park at Everleigh. Residents are also firm in their resolve that, even though they are not opposed to the development of the Ashmore site, they are opposed to any development taking place until the public transport (and other infrastructure) issues have been addressed and a firm commitment made to implement changes to cater for the increased population that the Ashmore development will bring to Erskineville.


Minister, Residents acknowledge and understand the difficulties that you have inherited and must now attempt to resolve when addressing the issue of public transport infrastructure in New South Wales. Residents also understand financial constraints that exist at this time. However I am equally sure you would understand the concern we have given the present infrastructure is inadequate for existing population requirements, and the apparent determination of the City of Sydney to approve development of the Ashmore Precinct without the provision of increased public transport infrastructure.


On behalf of residents I would request your indulgence in granting a small delegation of representatives of FOE a meeting to discuss the situation that we face with this proposed development given the City's apparent determination to proceed, and to discuss actions and timings that may be taken in the short to medium term to alleviate the problem, and plans your department may have that affect this suburban area for the longer term. Naturally we shall be happy to comply with any date and timings that best suit you as Minister and given your already busy schedule.


I trust that you will give this request your consideration and I look forward to your response in due course.

Yours sincerely

Mike Hatton OAM