Upper Blue Mountains residents and businesses have called on the State Government to stop the community consultation on duplicating the Great Western Highway through the historic village of Medlow Bath until after the COVID lockdown.
"Our community is being bulldozed by Transport for NSW (TFNSW) as it rams through plans to duplicate the highway at Medlow Bath that will have momentous consequences for the village and the iconic Hydro Majestic Hotel," Medlow Bath Residents Association (MBRA) President Deb Brown said.
The MBRA, Medlow Bath Action Group and the Blackheath Area Community Alliance representing over 20 local groups have called on Minister for Regional Transport Paul Toole MP, to immediately stop the TFNSW online consultation.
"We are in the middle of a COVID lockdown yet TFNSW is pushing ahead with their so-called community consultation by running four online forums within one week with one day's notice to residents and uploading hundreds of pages of documents on the internet," Ms Brown said.
"Many residents don't have access to a computer and stable internet to participate in complex online forums let alone download and analyse hundreds of pages of documents."
Medlow Bath resident Rhonda Bower question how they were supposed to participate without the technology.
"We don't have a computer, we are not allowed to go to our neighbour's house to look and the libraries and internet cafes are closed," she said.
Medlow Bath Action Group President Stephen Caswell said TFNSW had admitted they had not yet posted all their information online for this far reaching proposal.
"It will turn the town centre into a five-lane freight corridor wedged between the Hydro Majestic Hotel and the train station, both heritage listed," he said.
"There are too many unanswered questions about safety, access, heritage, tourism, noise, light and air pollution, and storm water runoff into the water catchment and World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains."
Blackheath Area Community Alliance Secretary Michael Paag said it was important that this project doesn't go ahead during a COVID lockdown.
"The $8 billion upgrade of the highway between Katoomba and Lithgow is far too important for Medlow Bath, the Blue Mountains and the NSW Central West to ram through in the middle of a COVID lockdown what appears to be a last minute band aid solution that lacks detail," he said.
"If the Nationals and the NSW Government are serious about solving the transport needs of the Central West then they should stop this fake consultation and instead take the time to investigate the alternative proposal for the tunnel under Mount Victoria and Blackheath to continue under Medlow Bath.
"This will deliver safer more reliable access to Sydney and preserve the upper Blue Mountains amenity, environment, heritage and tourism."
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