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Grass roots vision brought to life in Sydney’s Inner West

After almost twenty years Inner West residents are finally seeing construction begin to complete the GreenWay cycle and pedestrian path.

Scheduled to be completed in 2025, the six-kilometre corridor will link the Cooks River at Earlwood with the Parramatta River at Iron Cove, following the route of the Inner West Light Rail and Hawthorne Canal.

Although the northern section has been complete for several years, progress on the missing links between Summer Hill and Dulwich Hill has stalled for almost a decade due to issues securing funding.

Inner West Mayor, Darcy Byrne, said he looks forward to the completed GreenWay in 2025.

“This is the missing middle connection that will create a continuous corridor and bring the vision to life,” he said. “Our community has been fighting to make the GreenWay a reality for many decades now.”

NSW Transport Minister and Summer Hill MP Jo Haylen said she was excited for the finished product.

“This project has been a long time coming and follows years of campaigning from locals, including the Friends of the GreenWay group, Prime Minister Albanese and Linda Burney,” she said.

Jennifer Kent and Nick Chapman are among the residents who have been advocating for the GreenWay since the concept was conceived over 20 years ago.

Ms Kent said her passion for bush care has led her to be an advocate.

“We’ve had a lot of increased high rise around here, and there’s a real lack of green space. And if we can maintain the existing bush care along there, that’ll be fantastic,” she said.

The grassroots vision driven by volunteers has not been without its challenges. After initially making significant traction with local and state governments, the project faced a major setback with the previous NSW Liberal government deferring the GreenWay indefinitely.

“And so everything basically started to fall apart,” said Nick Chapman.

Despite the obstacle, proponents of the project continued to campaign.

“And then it became a campaign to build the GreenWay and I was pivotal in getting over 10,000 signatures so that it would be discussed in parliament,” said Ms Kent. “I was going out every weekend, sometimes twice a weekend, doing stalls at markets”.

Chris Jones will eventually be able to walk his dog, Radar, the full length of the GreenWay in 2025. Photo: Brigitta Naletilic.

The campaigning finally paid off with advocates securing $52 million in State and Council funding to complete the project.

“There’s been a tremendous amount of turnover of politicians, of staff of agencies” said Mr Chapman. “But the community who have always been here, I call them GreenWay champions, have been championing this vision for over 20 years”.

Advocates such as Mr Chapman and Ms Kent are pleased their vision is finally being realised.

“It shows how community aspirations, which are typically 10 or 20 years ahead of the government, can actually lead the way but also provide that continuity and consistency of thinking and message, which is really important.”

Once completed, the path will feature cultural and historical sites, artworks, cafes, bush care sites, parks, playgrounds and sporting facilities.

Tunnels being constructed under major roads will mean pedestrians and cyclists will be able to travel between Iron Cove and the Cooks River undisturbed by traffic.

Ms Kent said she looks forward to seeing children using the path to safely get to school.

“Working as a school counsellor, I saw a lot of kids that were dependent on mum and dad transporting them everywhere,” she said. “I wanted them to get out of the parents’ clutches and learning a bit of independence and confidence comes from competency. The GreenWay as planned had about over 20 schools along its way.”

Mr Chapman said one of the biggest benefits residents can look forward to is decreasing car reliance.

“The fewer cars we have the better for people’s health, for urban amenities, for environmental quality and for your hip pocket,” he said. “The GreenWay is providing a viable alternative [for] people wanting to move around.”

Residents like Dabrina Issakhany and Chris Jones are already enjoying the completed sections and said they are excited for the whole path to be completed.

“It will be great,” Ms Issakhany said. “I think we all realised just how important green space is since the Covid lockdowns.”

Mr Jones agreed, saying: “The inner west is great, but having some accessible green space will make it much more enjoyable.”

After almost twenty years Inner West residents are finally seeing construction begin to complete the GreenWay cycle and pedestrian path.


Brigitta Naletilic
Brigitta Naletilic
Brigitta Naletilic is a postgraduate student majoring in Media Practice at Sydney University. She has a background in the public service and an undergraduate degree in International Studies. Brigitta enjoys spending time wrangling her two young children when not studying or working.

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