Council withdraws support for Wilton New Town
Posted on: 02.05.2018
At an Extraordinary Council meeting following a packed community forum at Wilton last night, Wollondilly Councillors unanimously voted to withdraw their ‘in principle’ support for Wilton New Town and reconsider their position only when vital planning matters are addressed by the NSW Government.
The Mayor, Cr Judith Hannan said, “Council’s vision for Wilton New Town has effectively been shattered by the premature rezoning of the South East Precinct and a lack of response to questions raised with the Department of Planning over the past 18 months.”
“Until we have certainty on the issues of public transport, a health precinct, local jobs and protection of our valuable koala habitat we are calling on the Government to defer any further release of land within the Wilton Priority Growth Area,” she said.
At the meeting, the Mayor addressed recent comments made by radio personality Alan Jones, personally attacking her for getting in the way of “affordable housing.”
Cr Hannan rejected the simplistic notion put forward by Mr Jones that building more houses at Wilton, without resolving planning and environmental issues, is the best way to solve Sydney’s housing affordability crisis.
Cr Hannan noted that she was not against development and that Council had always supported Wilton New Town.
“We want it to be fantastic, we want it to proceed, but we are not getting any answers. We are not saying delay this forever,” she said.
“Let’s get this master-planning done, and let’s get it planned correctly.”
She challenged Mr Jones to come out and meet her at Wilton, but only if he used public transport to get there.
A number of locals spoke passionately at the community forum which preceded the Council meeting, and although some expressed frustration with the delays to the development process, others were deeply concerned about the impact of 3600 new homes on a transport system that is already under significant stress.
A key focus for both Council and the community was the protection of the only disease-free koala colony in NSW, which would be impacted by the rezoning of the Wilton South East Precinct.
Council is calling for the rezoning of the portion of the precinct that forms part of the Allen’s Creek primary koala corridor to be repealed by the Minister of Planning.
It will also ask for protection for Wollondilly’s unique koala population under the federal Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
A petition has been started by Council on behalf of all individuals concerned with the conservation of koalas in South West Sydney, asking for the Wilton South East zoning to be repealed until the corridor which forms a critical link for the koalas, as identified by the Office of Environment and Heritage, is protected and that no further rezoning of land take place in the area until a comprehensive South Western Sydney Koala Conservation Strategy is finalised and approved.