Gas pipeline protest

Courtesy of Torch Publishing - 22/3/2006

Gas pipeline protest


torch_22032006About six weeks ago, Neville Hobman returned to his Riverwood home on Bonds Road after a neighbourhood walk feeling rather confused.

The former landscaper had noticed some strange pink circles on the ground outside and at the back of the home that he’s shared with his wife Joan for most of their married life.

But rather than being the signature of something extraterrestrial, Mr Hobman would later discover that the circles were simply terrestrial – ground markings for a proposed gaspipe stretching between Liverpool and Marrickville.

Photo: Cr Karl Saleh with residents Neville and Joan Hobman near the site of the proposed pipeline.

“I didn’t know about it until I was walking across Bland Oval when I saw this pink circle on the ground, opposite where I live on the walkway and at the back,” recalled Mr Hobman.

“I asked the groundsman about it and he didn’t know… He enquired and came back to tell me that it was a gaspipe.”

The 30km pipeline has been proposed by Agility, the management arm of gas provider Australian Gas Light (AGL), to strenthen the supply of gas to Sydneysiders as an answer to rising demand.

Construction is expected to start in May.

Buried two metres underground, the high-quality steel pipe can be laid under the Gas Act without government approval, Agility spokesperson Peter Wood told the Torch.

“What we’re trying to do is work in with the councils and the community at large to minimise any inconvenience,” Mr Wood said.

“Construction should take 12 months. We’re putting in a traffic management system to minimise (any problems). We’re using less used roads so that should minimise the effect of the construction of the pipe.”

He said Agility had advertised the project in print media in previous weeks and notices had been placed at local councils.

Two controversial elements in the project are the Pressure Reduction System (PRS) structures and Automatic Line Break Valves, which are spaced intermittently along the line, including on Bonds Road, behind Earls Avenue.

Neighbouring resident Vince Breen also said he held concerns about the pipeline, despite meeting with Agility representatives a month ago.

“We said we never wanted it anywhere near here for the simple reason that if there was ever going to be a smell, we’d get it straight away,” he said. “The further away from the houses, the better.

“We’ve put up with enough in this area with the M5 (motorway) plus the speeding traffic. We feel that we don’t want anything else.”