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Minister defends Balmain Leagues acquisition plans

NSW Roads Minister Melinda Pavey has gone on the front foot, defending a potential inner-city construction tunnel at the historic Balmain Leagues Club site. 

The government is considering a compulsory acquisition of the now-defunct Rozelle club. It would be used as a tunnel entrance to remove thousands of tonnes of soil from the proposed Western Harbour Tunnel construction.

The acquisition would kill off community hopes for the Balmain Leagues Club to return to its former glory, kill off current development plans submitted to council and cause traffic chaos in the area.

It could also cost taxpayers more than $100 million to acquire the site.

Minister Pavey has criticised the Inner West Council for leaking the proposal.

“Nothing is confirmed at this point but we are doing the proper consultation… That is one of the areas being considered.

“How long’s it been sitting there vacant, not doing anything… we have the infrastructure demands and needs of Sydney to consider.”

The Minister insists whichever site is chosen will not be acquired forever.

“For the period of construction, and that isn’t determined, but it’s not going to be for another decade.

“Let’s put it into context of how long that site has been sitting there empty while the local council has been dithering around with their decisions on that.”

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