Four passionate cyclists, all members of Mark Speakman’s electorate visited him last week to find out what is happening with our long-awaited Sutherland to Cronulla Active Transport Link (SCATL). Frankly, we are more than a little tired of waiting and pushing for this much needed and desired path that will benefit Shire residents in so many ways, be it health, transport or just pure enjoyment of getting from place to place on foot or bike.
It has been more than 5 years since SSEC members and 3 Shire MP’s, including Speakman met with Gladys Berejiklian, then transport minister and convinced her to commit $2 million dollars towards design and planning for SCATL.
The public submission period for SCATL closed well over 2 and half years ago and we have been waiting ever since to find out when and if this project will proceed. After 3 months of repeated phone calls and emails requesting a meeting with Speakman, he finally acquiesced. At the meeting, Speakman began by stating that we didn’t need to convince him of the benefits of SCATL, though we did emphasise that the overdevelopment (large blocks of units with very limited car parking) that his government has promoted in the Shire since the public submission period meant that it was more important than ever.
So what did we find out?? …drum roll….SCATL will be built but Speakman was unable to live up to his namesake and actually speak about the details until a government announcement is made in 3 weeks time.
In summary, here’s what we found out at the meeting:
– A petition may still be useful but it will only be effective if we have a significant number of signatures.
– Mark Speakman expressed his motivation and commitment to the completion of the project however wasn’t specific
– He indicated that the announcement
– will confirm the project will proceed
– will be completed in stages
– will have some changes from the originally proposed route, including more within the rail corridor
– will confirm the funding issues have been resolved
– likely to have a budget of approx. $40m
– will announce a start date however only for specified stage(s)
– will likely focus on construction starting from the West to East as some parts of the eastern area proving more problematic
We have another meeting scheduled with Speakman on Nov 2, presumably after the government announcement is made.
Maybe someday soon, we will be able to cycle or walk safely from Sutherland to Cronulla…fingers crossed!