The location of four unfiltered smoke stacks in the Inner West as part of Stage 3 of the WestConnex motorway project has residents fuming.
The NSW Government has released the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Stage 3 which confirmed that the Rozelle and Lilyfield communities will have smoke stacks in their neighbourhoods.
The stacks will be located close to local childcare centres, aged care centres, homes and businesses, with three adjacent to Rozelle Public School on Victoria Road.
The updated EIS has prompted anger from community members.
Peter Hehir, the Convenor of Rozelle Against Westconnex (RAW), said his reaction was one of disgust "that any government could show such contempt for the community whose best interests they are elected to safeguard".
"The community is obviously outraged with feelings that range from despair to outright hostility,” Mr Hehir said.
“Each day hundreds of kilograms of carcinogenic material from diesel exhausts, imported from Cammeray in the north and St Peters in the south will be pumped along the Sydney Motorway Corporation tunnels and released in Rozelle via the unfiltered stacks," he said.
“There is no doubt if this were to proceed that many preventable, premature and painful deaths from lung cancer, respiratory conditions and heart disease will result.”
A spokesman for No Westconnex said the most significant air pollution was diesel PM2.5 particles which get into the lungs and is considered a carcinogen.
"In growing children it has been shown to permanently reduce lung capacity,” he said.
"As bad as these [health] concerns are, this is not the worst aspect. To overplay exhaust pollution makes it seem that this is an unfortunate consequence of an otherwise useful project."
"That is the central flaw. It has been known now for 40 years that increasing road capacity does not reduce congestion. So this project will waste $17 billion and not achieve its goal. This is why our campaign focuses more on public and active transport as an alternative."
St Peters will also be targeted by WestConnex, with further plans to have a smoke stack located there.
The Independent candidate for Stanmore ward for the Inner West Council, Pauline Lockie, said the EIS had only added to residents' frustration.
“[The proposal of the smoke stacks] isn’t unexpected, because we’ve seen this happen with WestConnex since the beginning. Anywhere a tunnel exists, there are going be pollution stacks because that is where the emissions need to come out.
“The last few EISs were bad in terms of their level of detail and in their failure to consider the proper impacts of the various stages of WestConnex. This is even worse because we don’t even have a final design. [The government] are basing it on a concept and they are actually very up front about the fact that this is only indicative of the what the actual impacts of the project will be," Ms Lockie said.
“People are rightly worried about their health if they are within the zones of these pollution stacks, because if you look at the scientific evidence, the pollution stacks have a drop zone of 1-2 kilometres, so this is a huge radius that is looking at a spike in deadly pollutants."
Ms Lockie said there would be a big push to get as many public submissions on the EIS as possible.
”I know that community groups are working together now to start breaking down the EIS. They are getting experts in particular areas to do submissions so that we can put that information out there to the public as well."
Communities have until October 16 to launch their objections to the EIS, before the proposal is finalised and the project commences.