The Blue Mountains Conservation Society has condemned the planned removal of more than 30 trees in an upgrade of Glenbrook Train Station.
The trees and 406 square metres of groundcover are part of the critically endangered ecological community the Sydney Turpentine-Ironbark Forest, and also the endangered ecological community the Blue Mountains Shale Cap Forest in the Sydney basin bioregion.
It includes five grey ironbarks considered of “high significance in the landscape” according to an arborists report prepared for the station upgrade. The remainder are eucalypts and wattles.
The trees would be removed to make way for a proposed new pedestrian ramp, stairway and transformer.
The society’s president Madi Maclean said while they “welcomed any upgrade to railway stations in the Blue Mountains which improve accessibility and encourage use of public transport”, “more options could have been explored in terms of the upgrade to avoid the removal and impacts on this critically endangered community.”
She said the Sydney Turpentine Ironbark Forest was of national significance and had declined in geographical distribution by more than 95 per cent, and was also under threat in surviving areas from weed invasion and degradation.
A heritage impact statement for the station upgrade recommends any trees that are removed should be replaced with a similar species, but Ms Maclean said this wasn’t good enough.
“The society also does not believe the proposed biodiversity offset, of regenerating and enhancing the adjoining small corridor of native vegetation, is sufficient,” she said.
“Rehabilitating already existing native vegetation, we believe, does not sufficiently offset the permanent decline of this already critically stressed vegetation community.”
Ward 4 Greens candidate in the 2016 council elections, Kate McConville, said the community had not had time to digest the reports and give feedback.
An Aboriginal heritage site has also been identified 850m from the proposal, but is not expected to be impacted.
The upgrade includes a new lift to provide access to the existing footbridge, a kiss-and-ride area on Burfitt Parade, upgrades to CCTV and lighting to improve safety and security, and new station entrance and accessible pathways connecting the eastern carpark on Burfitt Parade to the station.
President of the Glenbrook Chamber of Commerce, Kathy Dwyer, said the chamber was supportive of the lift proposal.
“We have had public feedback in favour of the lift and the chamber agree that providing a lift at Glenbrook train station would be beneficial to the residents of the village and tourists that are physically impaired,” she said.
The upgrade is part of the NSW government’s transport access program.
The public had a short window to provide feedback on the proposal, via the website www.transport.nsw.gov.au/projects/current-projects/glenbrook-station-upgrade which closed on November 26.
A response has been sought from Member for Penrith, Stuart Ayres.
Meanwhile, Hazelbrook Train Station is also being upgraded. The proposed work includes a new lift, accessible pedestrian pathways and a family accessible restroom. The public has until December 6 to have their say at: www.yoursay.transport.nsw.gov.au/hazelbrook.