Letters from Transport for NSW to Sutherland Shire Council "read like ransom notes", an extraordinary council meeting on Monday night was told.
"And, I think they were intended to be read that way," Cr Peter Scaysbrook said. "The attitude was 'Hand over your land and we will free the hostages'."
Councillor after councillor - Liberal, Labor, independent - tore strips off the transport department and its political masters for the way they have handled the proposed Jannali commuter car park issue.
The council voted unanimously to reject the government demand to hand over the council-owned car park behind the Jannali shopping centre for a new commuter car park in order to stop the compulsory acquisition of homes on the other side of the station.
However, work will start immediately to rezone the Box Road site for an integrated development that will include a commuter car park if the government abandons the acquisition of homes process.
The resolution effectively calls on the government to return to the negotiating table.
Speaking after the meeting, mayor Steve Simpson, said "this is a sound plan that allows us to meet the future needs of local residents, retailers, and rail commuters, while pulling out all stops to get this commuter car park built in a reasonable time frame".
"Our Council staff have been working around the clock to meet a very challenging deadline set by Transport for NSW to provide a workable solution to this problem, and we are confident we now have a plan they can get behind.
"We acknowledge that this plan will not meet the 2023 deadline for completion that Transport for NSW has been pushing to date, but with appropriate support from the state government to progress through the complex planning processes, it is still something we can achieve in a reasonable time frame.
"Our message to the state government is clear - it's better to take a little extra time in working with us to get this right than it is to steam ahead and force nine families out of their homes."
The extraordinary meeting started with councillors unanimously endorsing a mayoral minute that expressed "collective empathy and concern for the nine families whose mental health has been significantly impacted" by the decision to compulsorily acquire nine homes.
"These affected families have reached out to me asking for assistance with mental health support," Cr Simpson said.
"The state government assured them 'Transport for NSW will support impacted residents every step of the way.'
"As at midday today, the families were still waiting for this help to reach them.
"Councillors, I ask you to stand with the families and support my mayoral minute, to connect these nine families with council's community service partners who provide mental health support services."
Cr Carmelo Pesce then moved the resolution, which was crafted by staff, who were praised by all speakers for the comprehensive report they prepared to overcome the impasse.
Cr Pesce said it was "a very fair and honest solution" and, if accepted by the government, would "allow residents to sleep at night".
Cr Scaysbrook called it a "fair and humane outcome" while Cr Tom Croucher said, "I hope Transport for NSW will work with the council and end this nightmare".
Cr Jack Boyd ridiculed the 7-days ultimatum to agree to hand over the Box Road car park.
"We couldn't sell a park bench in seven days, but we are meant to conduct complex planning decisions with a gun to the back of the head of residents with seven days notice as if we somehow were bastardising this process", he said.
"Let's end the madness and go forward with a bit of common decency."
Cr Barry Collier said the Jannali shopping centre was dying, with many empty shops.
"Handing over the car park park solely for a commuter car park would make death inevitable," he said.
The former MP for Miranda said the present MP Eleni Petinos could stop the process.
Just as the government attributed her strong advocacy to getting a commuter car park, she could also ask the minister to put it on hold, he said.
"My warning in the strongest possible terms is she must do this or it will hang like an albatross around her neck until the next state election and beyond," he said.
Cr Kent Johns said there were better alternatives for a new commuter car park, including Gymea and Kirrawee.
Deputy mayor Michael Forshaw read from a Leader report on February 4, 2019, of Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Ms Petinos promising to build the commuter car park.
Cr Forshaw said Ms Berejiklian had said "the government wanted to ensure the design met community expectations" and "we have to get a final design everyone is happy with".
"No one is happy with this," he said.
Cr Forshaw said the Premier also acknowledged the new car park would cater for many motorists who were not shire residents.
"We know a lot of people are coming from further south," Ms Berejiklian said.
Cr Forshaw commented: "It is outrageous to solve the problems of people who don't live in the shire by taking away the homes of people who do".
Cr Forshaw said the 2013 report also quoted Ms Petinos as saying that once a site was chosen, planning work and public consultation would follow.
"There was no consultation," he said.
Mayor Steve Simpson said "the village of Jannali" had come together to fight the government action, and the wider community of Sutherland Shire had supported them.
Jannali residents were praised for the moderation they have shown in a very effective campaign, which includes more than 10,000 signatures on a petition, which will see the matter debated in State Parliament.
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