A media report that extending the F6 motorway could mean annexing part of Royal National Park or bulldozing 460 houses between Loftus and Engadine has outraged conservationists and panicked home owners.
The state government’s responded by saying no decision had been made and the report was “completely premature”.
The alternative, according to the internal report, would be the acquisition and bulldozing of about 460 houses and 40 commercial properties between between Loftus and Waterfall at the cost of hundreds of millions of dollars.
The revelation adds a new element to the proposed route that was set aside 60 years ago.
Maps have long shown the F6 corridor cutting off a corner of the National Park between Kirrawee and Loftus.
The dotted lines stop on Princes Highway near Loftus Oval, where an application was made last year to take some National Park land for an extra football field.
No decision has yet been announced on the application, and it’s possible it could be tied up with F6 planning.
If 500 properties had to be acquired south of that point, it would appear the road would cut a swathe through residential areas of Loftus, Yarrawarrah, and Heathcote.
Heathcote MP Lee Evans said anxious residents had been contacting his office on Wednesday, seeking details.
“It’s understandable they are concerned but the fact is the route has not been finalised, so we just don’t know,” he said.
Mr Evans said he had attended 13 to 14 meetings about the F6 extension over the last few years.
“At every meeting we get different information.
“It’s still in the planning process. It hasn’t landed.”
Mr Evans said the Fairfax Media report “could be based on one page from one of the many documents we have seen”.
He described it as “a bit of mischief” and “scaremongering”.
A spokesman for Roads Minister Melinda Pavey said, “Reports this morning that the government plans to build a road through the National Park or acquire homes for the extension are completely premature”.
“No decision has been made on the solution or alignment and further studies would need to be carried out in the future to help inform design options.
“The government has provided $15 million in the 2016-17 budget to continue planning and geotechnical work.
“The community will continue to be kept informed at key stages of the project.”
Sutherland Shire mayor Carmelo Pesce said he was “a big supporter of the F6 extension” because it would “take traffic out of the shire”.
“The state government is looking at the route options and until we have something concrete for the community to consider we are only speculating”.
Acting Opposition Leader Michael Daley said, “Gladys Berejiklian has got to be kidding”.
“She’s happy to spend three or four billion dollars on a tunnel to the northern beaches so that no one’s homes or parklands are affected, but when it comes to the people of Sydney’s south they get a choice between bulldozing over 400 homes or gouging a large part out of Australia’s most iconic national park”.
The Southern Sydney Branch of the National Parks Association said annexing 60 hectares of Royal National Park for the new road was “totally unacceptable”.
“It was unacceptable when the Labor government proposed it in 2004 and it remains so today,” the group said in a statement.
”Our national park estate is not open space to be set aside until we can find another use for it.
“It is an important heritage asset, a vital component in protecting our biodiversity, an important set of lungs for our crowded city and a haven of peace to which more and more residents go to seek solace.
“When next week’s budget is presented to Parliament and when this grab by Roads and Maritime Services is revealed to the public there will be an outcry of anger.
“The public, already duped by WestConnex, will be furious at this further attack on our natural environment and on our invaluable open space.”
The Nature Conservation Council vowed to fight any moves to bulldoze bushland in Royal National Park.
“Sydney region bushland is a precious legacy that we have been entrusted to protect and hand on to our children,” campaigns director Daisy Barham said.
“The community expect the Berejiklian government to protect what we have left.”
Greens MP and environment and transport spokeswoman Mehreen Faruqi said either option would be “a disaster” and ”the government should be investing in improving the South Coast rail line line”.