Nepean Avenue residents fire fresh shot in battle against path

Nepean Avenue residents Siegfried Kunze, John Mulders, Ann Parer. Photo: Melinda Jane.
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Residents on Penrith’s Nepean Avenue have filed a formal complaint to the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) in relation to Penrith City Council and their street’s controversial new pathway.

It’s no secret a series of residents have been vehemently opposing Council’s plan to implement a pathway along Nepean Avenue, but now they have escalated their concerns.

John Mulders, Ann Parer and Siegfried Kunze have raised their concerns about the implementation of the pathway and saw no other option but to escalate the matter.

“We’ve had many meetings with Council, [and] they’ve just refused to accept our view of what’s happening,” Mulders said.

“So, basically how that can be resolved is to send it to ICAC.”

Mulders discovered a Council commissioned safety audit that he believes reveals that the safety of the pedestrians using the bridge-to-bridge walk will not improve once a pathway is installed.

“Because I discovered there was an audit on safety and it actually, it says that itself… that the objection of this audit is to check the safety on Nepean Avenue [and] the pathway concept,” Mulders said.

“When I got letters back from Council they said, ‘Oh no, that wasn’t really what it was about – it’s about informing tenders and looking at the design’.

“They didn’t mention the safety factor, when in fact the safety factor was the dominant thing of that audit.”

Kunze believes that Council has not considered alternative options for the completion of the bridge-to-bridge walk.

Residents walking along Nepean Avenue. Photo: Melinda Jane.

“They haven’t looked at any alternative in a real fashion,” Kunze said.
Parer said the implementation of the pathway will do nothing to increase safety on the street.

“I walk every day on the street and people will not stay in the 2.6 metre zone because they like to walk four abreast,” she said.

“Particularly mothers with prams, dogs, kids on little scooters, joggers at night – four across the road.”

In response, Council acknowledged a complaint has been filed with ICAC.

“Penrith City Council commissioned a Road Safety Audit of Nepean Avenue in February 2023 to determine the feasibility or need for a pathway, and a second Road Safety Audit was commissioned in September 2023 to guide the detailed design stage, inform any future tender processes, and ensure any compliance requirements were met,” a spokesperson for Council said.

“This practice is in line with Transport for NSW guidelines and Austroads Guide to Road Safety Part 6: Road Safety Audit and RTA guidelines for Road Safety Audit Practices.

“The contents and recommendations of the second Road Safety Audit was not considered to be material to the resolution to implement the pathway and therefore was not included in the Ordinary Meeting Business Paper for the 25 September 2023 meeting.

“Council acknowledges that Nepean Avenue residents have lodged a complaint regarding this matter to the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC). If contacted by ICAC, Council will fully cooperate and respond to any requests or inquiries.”

Emily Chate

Emily Chate joined The Western Weekender in 2024, and covers local news - primarily courts and politics. A graduate of the University of Wollongong, Emily has contributed to The Daily Telegraph and worked as a freelance journalist.

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