Surry Hills light rail noise pushes local 2010 community too far?

Darren Moffatt

Looks like the construction of the light rail around Devonshire St will be a noise nightmare for Surry HIlls residents.

According to a report today in the Daily Telegraph, locals can expect 'heavy metal' noise levels of 112 decibels, 24 hours round the clock as 'jackhammers' and 'rock-breakers' do their work. In an effort to get the job finished quickly as possible, has the government pushed the Surry Hills 2010 local community too far?

In news that will shock many residents and small businesses, Ward Park in Devonshire St Surry Hills will be turned into a 3200 square metre construction hub!

Sounds awful. But is this story a media beat-up by those with self-preservation at heart? 

According to this snide piece earlier in the year by City Hub (published by Alt Media),  News Ltd (publisher of the Daily Telegraph) may only be taking a special interest in this development because of the impact on one prominent member of staff, Warren Brown. (He's the Daily Telegraph's cartoonist and motoring writer, and happens to live right in the middle of the construction corridor, apparently).

In today's report he calims to have left or moved due to the impact on his family, and particularly his autisitic son.

One can harly blame him for that.

But are residents really 'up in arms'?  I suspect not - YET. The resident action group 'People Unite Surry Hills (PUSH) only has 365 Facebook likes - hardly the stuff of a groundswell revolution. 

But we should never underestimate the power of apathy. People are often (usually) very apathetic to local issues, until it directly affects them. Construction hasn't yet begun, no one's been affected, and I'd guess most residents would only be vaguely aware of the upheaval that's coming. There is in fact a community meeting on Nov 21 at Northcott Community Centre. So if you have an interest, now is the time to get involved, or forever hold your peace!

I was talking with the convenor of a residents group in another neaby suburb recently, and he bemoaned the lack of community interest in his group by new residents unless they had received a parking ticket or some other personal inconvenience. 

Was it always thus? In Surry Hills at least, we're about to find out...

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