Ventia was contracted to deliver the community and stakeholder engagement program on behalf of RailCorp NSW for the award-winning Macdonaldtown Gasworks remediation project. 

Remediation works involve noise, dust and odour pollution which can be managed, but not avoided. 

The Erskineville site, in Sydney's inner west, is densely populated with houses, apartments and heritage-listed cottages. Strong community engagement was the key to ensuring the project succeeded, keeping residents aware of progress and disrupting their lives as little as possible.

Retaining our social licence

While RailCorp had laid the groundwork, our team needed to win the trust of the local community and keep it for the two-year duration of the works. 

This started with understanding their needs and values, and working with them to negotiate tolerances, working hours and respite hours, especially for noisy phases of the project. 

We doorknocked affected households, invited them to attend community meetings, and surveyed them about their needs. Their input informed our management plan for noise-intensive works. The plan included agreements such as 8:00am starts (rather than the usual 7:00am), clear notice periods and scheduled rest days.

With a clear complaints handling process in place, residents were assured of our commitment to the agreed plan.

Inviting input for the greening process

Part of remediation is revegetation. We were happy to open the door to residents' suggestions about this. We sought input through consultation sessions and recorded requests so we could form an agreed approach. We accommodated all of the residents' requests, which focused on native revegetation.

Sustaining the goodwill

In an end-of-project survey, more than 90% of project attributes were rated as 'excellent' or 'good'. Overall, the project received limited complaints and several compliments. 

Residents offered positive feedback about how well-informed they felt, and how impressed they were with the frequency and quality of communications. 

Our proactive approach helped the community feel heard and valued throughout the process. They were part of our plan from start to finish, and we were happy they could contribute to the regeneration of the site.