Petition to stop Sydney Water building Odour Control Unit at Wolli Creek park

The Wolli Creek Preservation Society has launched an online petition against Sydney Water's plans to build an Odour Control Unit (OCU) on land the society says is earmarked for the completion of Wolli Creek Regional Park.

Petition organiser Peter Stevens said 1,173 people had signed the online petition just 72 hours after it was launched last weekend.

"Sydney Water proposes to build an industrial plant (an Odour Control Unit, OCU) on land long earmarked for the completion of Wolli Creek Regional Park," Mr Stevens said.

"The Park of 50 hectares is managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service, with the assistance of the Wolli Creek Preservation Society (WCPS), which has led over 30 years of community demand for the Park."

Wolli Creek Preservation Society and the Nature Conservation Council of NSW (NCC) have launched a campaign, supported by a six-minute Video providing an overview of the issues, that urges people to sign a petition asking the responsible Minister (Melinda Pavey, Minister for Water) to overturn Sydney Water's decision about the location of the OCU.

Mr Stevens said the proposed location of the ODCU would see the destruction forever of a natural sandstone cliff face; cause the loss of an essential link between local landmark, Wolli Bluff, and the rest of the Park; cause the loss from the Park of a significant area of restorable bushland; and see the presence of a modern plant dominating the heritage-listed 1890s South-West Ocean Outfall Sewer, which crosses Wolli Creek at this point.

"We accept that the OCU is a necessary piece of State Infrastructure," Mr Stevens said.

"But there is an alternative site for the OCU with significant advantages, in addition to avoiding the negative consequences.

"Most of Sydney Water's reasons for rejecting this site do not stand up to analytical scrutiny and the others can be readily overcome if the Minister and the Government want that to happen," he said.

A Sydney Water spokesperson said the proposed odour control unit (OCU) is a critical piece of infrastructure to prevent deterioration of the wastewater system and minimise odour, thereby protecting public health and the environment.

"There are limited options for the new OCU along the wastewater system and Sydney Water carried out a comprehensive evaluation into the viability of alternative locations for the OCU," the spokesperson said.

"This identified they are not suitable due to access and space constraints, proximity to densely populated locations, and design and operational issues.

"During detailed design, Sydney Water aims to reduce the footprint of the OCU and the impact to the rock bluff as much as possible.

"The local Bushcare Group will be contacted by Sydney Water and given the opportunity to recover and relocate any vegetation before construction starts and any impacted native vegetation will be offset 2:1 in an area close to the site.

"Access to the walking trail on Sydney Water's site will be maintained for the community. Sydney Water will continue to update stakeholders as it progresses to detailed design and construction in about mid-2021.

"Sydney Water's Unwin Street site is required to access existing major critical assets, above and below the ground, for future maintenance and rehabilitation."