Riverwood residents forced to sell homes for parking, struggle to afford comparable homes
A family claims they are carrying the burden of a community by having their home demolished to make way for a multi-story car park in southwest Sydney.
The Charan family spent 28 years making their Riverwood home a home. This is where they planned to see their days.
But the NSW government is forcing them and two neighbors to sell – at prices they say do not reflect the surging market – so that a new suburban parking lot can be built.
And to speed things up, the government has cut negotiation times in half.
“The law is in their favor and they can kick us out,” said Sam Charan, the 76-year-old patriarch of the family.
The family don’t want to leave but say if they have to, they should get enough money to buy another three-bedroom house in the area, along with relocation costs.
“We can’t find a property with the ($ 1 million) that was offered in this neighborhood as it is,” said Vineh Charan, their 46-year-old son and owner of the house.
The project comes just a month after the NSW government backtracked from plans to acquire houses on the outskirts of Jannali for a suburban parking lot following a backlash from the community.
Local, state and federal governments have worked together to plan the three-story Riverwood parking lot that will replace a smaller parking lot attached to the three houses.
The car park will increase its capacity to 140 parking spaces.
Transport for NSW says the larger parking lot will make it easier for people to catch a train from Riverwood and therefore get more cars off the road.
But the project was speeded up, meaning the period of negotiation with landowners was reduced from six to three months, a spokesperson for Transport for NSW said.
“The NSW government has stepped up this project as part of its $ 3 billion infrastructure and jobs acceleration fund,” they said.
“This fund, created in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, is intended to be used for smaller, out-of-the-box projects, putting up to 20,000 additional jobs back into the workforce.”
Not all residents of Webb Street, Riverwood are opposed to the sale of their home, but their will depends on getting the right price.
Jing He said the $ 1.2 million offered to him would not be enough to buy another house that could be suitable for his family of nine in the same area.
“We got Grandma’s apartment because we are a big family. We need both houses, ”she said.
“It’s brand new, a year and a half ago.”
If the owners do not negotiate a deal by May 16, the government can compulsorily acquire the land and the assessor general will determine the amount of compensation that the landowners receive.
Local opposition member Jihad Dib said the family should get enough money to be able to be a similar-sized house in the area.
He also called on the government to consider another way to provide more parking, such as building a taller structure over the existing parking lot.
“The locals said they wanted parking for commuters, but they didn’t say to take us away from our homes,” Dib said.
“Why do we have to uproot families?”