Families of children killed in crash hit out at critic
A painful debate about the need for a safety barrier at the scene of a crash that claimed the lives of four children has splintered a community and unleashed a strong rebuke from the young victims' families.
Matthew Camenzuli, a resident along Bettington Rd in Oatlands, has called on Parramatta Council to remove the 98m guard rail installed shortly after the February 1 crash, partly because he thinks it's ugly.
Mr Camenzuli - who is also on the NSW Liberal Party state executive - accused the council of ignoring locals before installing the $20,000 device outside his house.
A neighbour of Mr Camenzuli has also complained about the barrier's look and a lack of community consultation - a grievance championed by Parramatta Liberal councillor Benjamin Barrak in a March 9 council meeting.
"To my mind, the only people who were consulted on the guardrail have not got a vested interest in the street, specifically they do not live there," Mr Camenzuli said in a March 26 email to the council.
"The guardrail is entirely unnecessary for the most part of its span; the road is straight, the rail is unsightly and jarring.
"If council was to set a precedent where guardrails are run along straight spans of road, I expect that a great number of streets in the local government area will require guardrails as well. I feel it sets a dangerous precedent."
Mr Camenzuli this week stood by his statements, saying it should be removed after an approved roundabout is installed in November.
Parents Danny and Leila Abdallah lost children Antony, 13, Angelina, 12, and Sienna 8, when an allegedly speeding drunk driver lost control of his vehicle.
The siblings' cousin Veronique Sakr, 11 - daughter of Bob and Bridget Sakr and stepdaughter of Bridget's partner Craig Mackenzie - was also killed in the incident.
A fifth child was injured.
"We never want anyone to have to endure our suffering, losing children in the way we did," the Abdallah and Sakr families told The Sunday Telegraph.
"There should be no debate about installing any safety measures that ensure all children remain safe.
"We will always support any road safety initiative that further protects our community and in particular innocent children."
Almost four months after the accident people continue to lay flowers at the scene.
The Abdallah and Sakr families are still finalising the design of a permanent memorial located on land owned by Oatlands Golf Club.
Sources say some members of the community are hesitant about having such a prominent reminder of the tragic event on the street.
A council spokesman said there are no plans to remove the guard rail and that "council resolved to take no further action until the Coroner has published the findings in regards to the fatal accident".
The alleged driver of the vehicle which killed the four children - 29-year-old Samuel William Davidson - is due to appear in court June 11.
Originally published as Oatlands fatal crash barrier 'unsightly and jarring'