Rail Maintenance Facility causing major environmental damage

Platypus filmed in early 2018 near the Kangy Angy train maintenance facility development sitePlatypus filmed in early 2018 near the Kangy Angy train maintenance facility development site

Local residents and environmentalists strongly refute claims made by Transport for NSW (TfNSW) that the Intercity Fleet Rail Maintenance Facility, now under construction at Kangy Angy, is not affecting creeks in the vicinity.

Kangy Angy Resident Action Group (KARAG) spokesperson, Tracey Stewart, said she had asked TfNSW if they had researched the presence of Platypus in Chittaway and Bangalow Creeks. Stewart was sent the written response: “No, as we are not impacting their environment. “We will have appropriate erosion and sediment controls and basins established during our work.”

Mapping of the distribution of the platypus at the local scale is not available, but residents and the Community Environment Network (CEN) said the species continued to be present in both Bangalow and Chittaway Creeks. The Review of Environmental Factors (REF) for the Intercity Fleet Maintenance Facility at Kangy Angy did not identify the area as having platypus or being platypus habitat. John Asquith, Chair of the Community Environment Network, said: “The residents have told us on many occasions that they saw platypus in that system near the rail maintenance facility before it was built and the habitat destroyed. “We even had one of our members take video earlier this year of a young platypus that was very tame in one of those creeks near the development site,” Asquith said.

“We have absolutely no doubt that they are there because it was an isolated area, with good quality water, and no industry or run off going into the streams of a substantial amount,” he said. When asked whether he believed the development now underway was having an impact on the creeks, he said: “No doubt about it. “You have just got to look at the thing, clearing and filling land is the definition of habitat destruction on a large scale, and they are filling it with umpteen thousands of tonnes of road base and other fi ll. “What they are saying is not the truth. “Their REF tried to claim that their work and the devastation they were planning to do would have no impact. “They said there would be no discharge into surrounding creeks, rivers and flood plains. “It was absolutely untrue and it is demonstrably untrue.

“We think the creeks will be permanently disturbed because the facility is a heavy eningeering maintenance facility. “To suggest a heavy engineering maintenance facility, where trains are degreased, cleaned and so on, will not discharge into the environment in any circumstances, including rain and flood, on such a big site, is just not going to be possible. “They know it, we know it, and they just pretend it is not going to happen. “The Kangy Angy decision is one of the most appalling I have seen in my 50 years in the environment movement, it shows a complete disregard for the values of our local environment.” Tracey Stewart said the creeks have been impacted since work on the site commenced.

“They constructed a gabion wall, a cage made out of fairly heavy duty mesh filled with rocks, put pipes across the bottom where Chittaway Creek is, and put the gabion wall on top so they could cross the creek. “They have now removed the wall out of the creek completely, but there are already others that they have constructed to hold up the embankment. “There is a metal relocatable bridge across the creek now. “They use it for the workmens’ cars and there are other trucks that come in from time to time. “Of course they are affecting the creek; even removing all the vegetation has affected the creek,” Stewart said. TfNSW has now announced that they intend to temporarily divert Chittaway Creek. “They still won’t release the plans to us. “We have been asking for months and months for the plans, and we still haven’t seen any.

Source: Interview, Nov 8 Tracey Stewart, KARAG Interview, Nov 8 John Asquith, Community Environment Network

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