Riverwood residents forced to sell homes for car park struggle to afford like-for-like homes

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The Charan family cannot find a home of the same size and standard in Riverwood with the money offered. (ABC News: Tony Ibrahim)

A family claims they’re carrying the burden of a community by having their home destroyed to make room for a multi-storey car park in Sydney’s south-west.

The Charan family have spent 28 years making their Riverwood house a home. It’s where they planned to see out their days.

But the NSW government is forcing them and two neighbours to sell — at prices they say don’t reflect the surging market — so a new commuter carpark can be built.

And to speed things up, the government has halved negotiation times.

“The law is in their favour and they can push us out,” said Sam Charan, the family’s 76-year-old patriarch.

“We’ll be on the street.”

The family does not want to leave but say if they must, they should get enough money to buy another three-bedroom house in the area, as well as resettlement costs.

“We can’t find a property with the ($1 million) that’s been offered within this neighbourhood in the condition that it’s in,” said Vineh Charan, their 46-year-old son and the owner of the home.

The project comes just a month after the NSW government backtracked on their plan to acquire homes in the suburb of Jannali for a commuter carpark following major backlash from the community.

Local, state and federal governments have worked together to plan the Riverwood three-storey car park that will replace a smaller car park abutting the three homes.

The car park will increase capacity to 140 parking spots.

Transport for NSW claims the bigger carpark will make it easier for people to catch a train from Riverwood and therefore get more cars off roads.

But the project has been fast-tracked, which means the negotiation period with landowners has been cut from six to three months, a Transport for NSW spokesperson said.

“The NSW Government has expedited this project as part of its $3 billion infrastructure and job acceleration fund,” they said.

“This fund, established in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, is intended to be used for smaller, shovel-ready projects, injecting up to an extra 20,000 jobs back into the workforce.”

Not all residents on Webb Street, Riverwood are averse to selling their homes, but their willingness is hinged on getting the right price.

Jing He said the $1.2 million she was offered would not be enough to buy another home that can fit her family of nine in the same area.

“We got the granny flat because we are a big family. We need the two houses,” she said.

“It’s brand new, a year-and-a-half old.”

If the homeowners do not negotiate a deal by May 16, the government can compulsorily acquire the land and the Valuer-General will determine the amount of compensation the landowners receive.

Local opposition member Jihad Dib said the family should get enough money that they can buy a similar-sized home in the area.

He has also called on the government to consider an alternative way of providing more parking, such as building a taller structure on the existing car park.

“The residents said they want a commuter car park, but they didn’t say take our houses from us,” Mr Dib said.

“Why do we have to uproot families?”

Source: Thanks msn.com