'There will be houses affected'
Close to 100 Sydney properties will be purchased to make room for the first stages of the WestConnex motorway according to Roads Minister Duncan Gay last week.PT1M59S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2yd0v 620 349 November 28, 2013
Young father Joe Slakey had dreams of building a playground wonderland in his Haberfield backyard, and opening a restaurant in the nearby inner west. But that all changed on Thursday when he received a letter saying his century-old home would be demolished to make room for the WestConnex motorway.
''I even delivered our daughter, Pippi, on the bedroom floor here so we have a connection with this house. I am just devastated,'' Mr Slakey said.
''Haberfield is an old Sicilian neighbourhood with young families and it is such a shame to sacrifice a great community for the sake of development.''
Shame: Liz and Joe Slakey with their children, Luca, 6, Declan, 4 and Pip, 1 at their Haberfield home. Photo: Dallas Kilponen
More than 100 properties in Sydney's west and inner west will be purchased to make room for the first stages of the O'Farrell government's motorway.
The majority are residential, and most are around Underwood Road at Homebush, Concord Road at Concord, Parramatta Road at Ashfield, and the City West Link at Haberfield.
Negotiations over price are set to take place next year, with construction due to start in mid-2016.
The government released maps last week indicating a host of other properties may also be acquired, leaving their future in limbo.
They include the Presbyterian Aged Care facility on Parramatta Road at Haberfield, home to 40 elderly residents. The organisation's chief executive Paul Sadler declined to comment, saying he was due to meet with WestConnex officials on Wednesday to discuss how the facility might be affected.
John Watts, whose 74-year-old brother lives at the home, said moving residents would be a ''disaster''.
''A lot of these people are very frail and they could not withstand a change … of any kind,'' he said, adding his brother was ''a very ill person''.
Robert Cranfield's elderly father-in-law, who suffers from dementia, has lived at the home for almost three years.
Moving him would be a disruption, Mr Cranfield said.
''He's got a routine now, he knows the people and knows the place, he never used to be very social but now he's starting to know all the other residents,'' he said.
Pina Ricciu said her elderly mother, who is of Italian descent, would cope with a potential move to a new facility, as long as it was nearby. ''I would like her to stay in that Italian precinct [of] Haberfield or Leichhardt … otherwise I think she will feel displaced,'' Ms Ricciu said.
Roads Minister Duncan Gay said the use of tunnels to build the motorway ''minimised the disruption'' to communities.
The M4 motorway will be widened from three lanes to four in each direction between Parramatta and North Strathfield in the first stage of WestConnex construction.
A toll of up to $4 a trip will be introduced on the motorway, which will help pay for the later developments. About 20 houses will need to be acquired along that existing section of motorway.
The second stage of WestConnex will be a six-lane tunnel built under Parramatta Road from the M4 at North Strathfield, and will emerge in two places in the inner west.