The state government has officially given the go-ahead for a controversial 136,000-plot cemetery in Macarthur’s Scenic Hills.
The proposal had been strongly objected to by nearby residents, Campbelltown Council and local MPs.
Late last year the Joint Regional Planning Panel – made up of five members including Cr Paul Lake and former councillor Paul Hawker – endorsed the proposal.
However, the tick of approval from the Department of Planning was still required before the development proceeded.
Today, the department confirmed it had given the green light for the Catholic Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust plan.
Macquarie Fields MP Anoulack Chanthivong said the decision was the “start of the destruction of the Scenic Hills”.
“The Scenic Hills was meant to be preserved and never built on,” he said.
“The state government listen to developers, not the needs of the community.
“136,000 plots and they call is preserving the Scenic Hills. That’s nothing but a big fib.”
Campbelltown MP Greg Warren was not impressed with the decision.
“It’s a disappointing day for what we have long fought for – the preservation and conservation of the Scenic Hills,” he said.
“This is a state government that clearly doesn’t listen to communities and that’s why at times they feel disconnected from the process.
“One can only feel like they have been treated with contempt.”
Head of the Scenic Hills Association Jacqui Kirkby – who lives at the historic Varro Ville House in the middle of land included in the development – said she was not surprised by the decision.
“We thought that they would approve it,” she said.
“It’s not all said and done with yet, this is just the approval for the LEP, they’ve still got to get the DA through yet.
“We’ll be fighting this every step of the way.”
Ms Kirkby said the site was “too important to turn into a cemetery”.
She said the Trust’s choice of location for the cemetery was poor and demonstrated the incompetence of Catholic Church.
More to come…