A woman who led a grassroots campaign against the proposed Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link and the health impacts on children is taking on Premier Gladys Berejiklian at the state election.

Larissa Penn of Naremburn is standing as an independent for Ms Berejiklian’s seat of Willoughby at the March 23 poll.

Larissa Penn at Flat Rock Gully at Naremburn — a proposed construction site for the Western Harbour Tunnel.

Ms Penn, a Cammeray Public School P&C member, has united many parents across the north shore concerned about the fumes to be ventilated from the underground toll roads.

In December, she helped organise a `Stop the Tunnels’ protest outside Ms Berejiklian’s electorate office at Naremburn and handed staff a petition of more than 6,000 signatures against the projects.


Ms Penn has a biotechnology background and said parents asked her to explore the impact of the ventilation outlets.

“We came to the conclusion that the risk and impacts to children across the area were going to be significant,” she said.

“There has been growing concern and dismay that the local MP doesn’t seem to be listening to the community’s well-founded and valid concerns.”

The 6.5km, six-lane Western Harbour Tunnel would connect Warringah Freeway to the Rozelle Interchange, while the Beaches Link tunnel would connect the Gore Hill and Warringah freeways to the northern beaches.

Proposed Beaches Link and Western Harbour Tunnel route.

On the north shore, two ventilation outlets are proposed for the Warringah Freeway at Cammeray, near Anzac Park Public School.


Another is proposed at Lambs Rd, Artarmon, near Artarmon Public School.

The outlets will not be filtered and Ms Penn is not convinced by the modelling saying this will be safe.

“The government needs to provide health evidence this is safe,” she said.

An artist impression of the Western Harbour Tunnel. Picture: NSW Government

“Modelling and assumptions are not sufficient when you’re dealing with tens of thousands of schoolchildren.”

Ms Berejiklian said she has been listening to the community since the detailed design for the Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link was issued last year.


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