Planned Acquisition Notices issued on Riverwood properties for car park

Homes lost: Webb Street property owners EVineh Charan (left), his parents Sam and Monika, and Gan Yin, Zhuo Xing, with children Zhi Li and Zhi Wen. Picture: Chris Lane
Homes lost: Webb Street property owners EVineh Charan (left), his parents Sam and Monika, and Gan Yin, Zhuo Xing, with children Zhi Li and Zhi Wen. Picture: Chris Lane

Planned Acquisition Notices (PAN) have been issued on properties in Webb Street, Riverwood, to make way for a commuter car park, but the affected families said no agreement had been reached with Transport for NSW.

Vineh Charan, whose parents Sam and Monika live at 16 Webb Street, Riverwood, said the PAN was issued on July 13.

"Transport for NSW has issued a PAN order so they will own our property on August 27," Mr Charan said.

"But no agreement has been reached with Transport for NSW.

"The loss of our home is bad enough, and the timing is awful considering the lockdown and our ability to seek new property," he said.

To add to their uncertainty, a joint press release from Oatley MP Mark Coure and Banks MP David Coleman this week called for community input on the final stage of design works for the car park following "thorough property acquisition negotiations".

"The above statement by Mark Coure and David Coleman is incorrect in terms of "following thorough property acquisition negotiation".

"The PAN is not considered negotiation when one is being forced out of their home for a car park," Mr Charan said.

"The PAN means that we have lost our homes, all before the community consultation on the car park and alternate solutions.

"From our perspective, we didn't want to go, but it has been forced upon us.

"We will have to fight tooth and nail to get compensation.

"We are now on the path of losing our homes because there is no going back.

"We have engaged the valuers, but given the hot property market and the lockdown, it is hard enough for them to go their job.

"The homes are lost to us from August 27. I don't know when we are going to vacate.

"The next step is the Valuer-General and then the Land and Environment Court. So there is a process, but our home is gone.

'If it wasn't for the federal commuter car park funding or that the car park adjacent to us hadn't been sold by the council without our knowledge, I don't think we would be in this position," he said.

Jannali resident Tom Richards was one of a group of residents who successfully fought a State Government proposal to acquire their homes for a commuter car park in March.

"I am staggered that Transport for NSW is escalating the acquisition process given we are going through the hardest lockdown of the pandemic," Mr Richards said.

"These families are living in lockdown while the deadline is ticking down for them to leave their homes.

"They have to go into the hottest property market in Sydney history and try to find another home.

"How is this allowed to continue? The government does not have any moral compass.

"There needs to be a lot more vigour about the whole acquisition process when the government can just step into people's lives and take away their most valuable asset."

This week, Mr Coure and Mr Coleman called for community feedback on the proposed Webb Street car park.

The project is a joint initiative between the Australian and NSW Governments.

Mr Coleman said that parking congestion in Riverwood had been an issue for many years.

"We committed to funding a new commuter car park in Riverwood because action needed to be taken to address this issue," Mr Coleman said.

"Providing more parking spaces will give better access to the station for people from Riverwood, Peakhurst, and Lugarno. It will also help to reduce parking congestion on residential streets near Riverwood shops.

"I encourage residents to review the plans, as the feedback provided will help to inform the design phase of the project."

Multiple locations were investigated with some options not progressing as they would create a significant walking distance for commuters, or they could not provide enough parking spaces to accommodate commuter demand, the joint statement said.

Three residential properties need to be acquired for the project. Transport for NSW has provided dedicated personnel to assist during the property acquisition process, with confidential negotiations still ongoing to assist in ensuring a fair outcome for all involved.

"I understand that the acquisition process can often be stressful and daunting, but I have been assured by Transport for NSW that every effort has been made to be in consistent communication with the individuals and families impacted," Mr Coure said.

Transport for NSW confirmed it issued a Property Acquisition Notice (PAN) to the owners and occupiers of the three properties at Riverwood via their solicitors on 13th July.

"At the request of the owners, we have been attempting to negotiate through their solicitors in order to reach a mutual agreement for a number of months, however, with little success so far.," a Transport for NSW spokesperson said.

"Issuing a PAN does not mean that the residents will need to vacate their property within 30 days. Rather, it establishes a timeline for the remainder of the acquisition process under the Land Acquisition Just Terms Act which means that the residents could remain in their homes until early next year unless an earlier timeline is agreed.

"In the meantime, Transport for NSW will continue to attempt to reach a mutual agreement with the residents through their solicitors."

Transport for NSW is continuing to plan for the new commuter car park and the community is invited to provide feedback on planning documents at: https://www.transport.nsw.gov.au/projects/current-projects/riverwood-commuter-car-park

An Australian National Audit Office report has found the Federal government's commuter car park scheme was not merit-based.

A total of 47 commuter car park sites worth an estimated $660 million was allocated to projects in Liberal-held or marginally seats.

The auditor general's report said the approach to selecting commuter car park projects "was not appropriate" - as the government had chosen projects on a "non-competitive, non-application based process".

Leader readership area car parks.

  • Hurstville car park upgrade - $7.5 million still in planning stages, and the Riverwood car park - $10.5m construction to commence late 2021 and be completed in late 2022

Feedback on the Riverwood car park plans can be submitted via the feedback form on the website at:

www.transport.nsw.gov.au/riverwood or by emailing projects@transport.nsw.gov.au

For more information, please visit: https://www.transport.nsw.gov.au/riverwood