Council condemns premature plan for West Appin
Posted on: 20.02.2019
At its Ordinary Meeting last night, Wollondilly Shire Council considered two reports on the State Government’s recently announced plan for Greater Macarthur, which would see a further 18,000 homes in West Appin over the coming years.
Proposed development contributions, as outlined in the proposed Greater Macarthur Special Infrastructure Contribution (SIC levy) have been deemed grossly inadequate by Council, with significant additional capital expenditure required to provide infrastructure in the form of utilities, education and health facilities, emergency service and public transport.
Mayor, Cr Matthew Deeth said, “It would appear that the SIC is going to be short by hundreds of millions of dollars for community infrastructure that is the responsibility of the State Government.”
The controversial Greater Macarthur 2040 plan was released for community comment late last year with only five days’ notice given to residents in Appin and the surrounding communities to attend the only information drop-in session held within the Shire.
Cr Deeth said, “It is very disappointing, to say the least, that the Government thinks it is reasonable to hold a drop in session with such short notice. Where is the genuine consultation with the community?”
“The State Government says ‘no housing before infrastructure’ but for Wollondilly this does not hold true,” he noted.
With 18,000 dwellings proposed, the plan would translate to around 54,000 additional people in the Wollondilly area, in addition to the expected 45,000 population for Wilton.
Cr Deeth spoke out strongly against the plans, maintaining Council’s clear contention that infrastructure must be appropriately sized, sequenced and provided before the expected increases in population.
He said, “Yet again the State Government is thrusting another poorly conceived plan upon us to achieve simple housing numbers, without any genuine consideration for providing infrastructure and services for the people, the community or providing adequate protection for our environment. This just beggars belief!”
Council’s Acting Director Planning, Stephen Gardiner stated that Council has a long standing position on large scale growth for West Appin, with support for growth at Wilton New Town contingent on notsupporting development at West Appin, until 2036.
The report to Council raised a number of serious planning concerns around the lack of public transport, no electrified rail, lack of schools, hospitals and emergency services, no commitment to jobs growth and an ad-hoc approach to development.
Mr Gardiner said, “There is no such thing as ‘no cost to Government.’ There is always a cost to State agencies, Council and to the community.”
Cr Deeth questioned the motives of the State Government asking, “What have we learnt from planning at Wilton? It seems that the Government just doesn’t learn or doesn’t care! Developers are continually being put first to the detriment of our community.”
“We already have land rezoned at Wilton for over 7,000 lots and the Government still does not have a plan for water and sewer to service that land. Our Shire is already disadvantaged with access to drinking water, and here the Government wants to effectively double and triple our population without planning it right.”
The proposed Special Infrastructure Contribution (SIC) will try to recoup $1,230,000,000 from the development, which is mostly being spent on roads, with only 0.5% of the SIC being invested in public transport and only 0.1% for health.
There is also expected to be significant financial impact on Council in the context of resources, upfront capital expenses and recurrent costs.
The formal consultation period for the GM2040 concluded 8 February 2019, with Council being granted an extension through to the 28 February 2019.
On 10 December 2018, Council resolved a number of actions in relation to GM2040, including, in the strongest terms expressing its absolute objection to Greater Macarthur 2040.
A copy of the final submission will soon be forwarded to the Premier, Minister for Planning, Opposition Leader and Shadow Planning Minister.