Teen Ranch’s future at risk

An iconic institution in Camden is at risk of closing it doors if the proposed M9 Outer Sydney Orbital route is approved.

Teen Ranch in Cobbitty has seen thousands of local and Sydney students enjoy school, weekend and holiday camps for five decades.

The proposed M9 orbital route, which includes an eight-lane motorway and freight rail line, connects Box Hill in the north and the Hume Motorway, near Menangle, in the south. 

Some of Teen Ranch’s 40-acre land is directly in the orbital’s proposed path.

Julie and Rohan Offord have been the resident directors at the property for 18 years and they are worried about what the future holds for the popular campsite.

“We can’t get a clear answer about how much of our land will be taken up by the route,” Mrs Offord said.

“It could be 10 or 20 acres of our land where we do our outdoor activities.

“There is no way we could do our horse, canoeing or bush skills programs on the remaining 20 acres.

“I don’t know how they expect us to function on the reduced amount of land.”

“The remaining land is where our main building stands and that will be only 300 to 500 metres away from the road.

“After 57 years we may have to shut the doors through no fault of our own.”

The owners are worried about the orbital’s noise and air pollution as well as the visual impact.

Mrs Offord said Cobbitty was a special place and teachers choose to send students to the ranch to experience a rural lifestyle.

“Students come to us from Sydney and they feel like they are in the middle of nowhere,” she said. “They gaze across the view and it is idyllic. Now the government want to throw a monstrous orbital in the middle of it. The vibe will be lost.”

The ranch saw 6000 students a year come through its doors from local, Sydney and international schools.

Mrs Offord said the ranch offered kids a chance to get away from social media and enjoy the outdoors and recreational activities.

“There is no other experience like it,” Mrs Offord said. “The view is second to none. It is peaceful and can’t be replaced.

“Teen Ranch is built into the fabric of the Camden community and everyone has a story about the ranch.

“Cobbitty is a beautiful place to live and the orbital make the town be squashed or forgotten.”

Mrs Offord is disappointed with the level of community consultation from Transport for NSW and believes more information and detail on the orbital route needs to be provided before the submission date closes.

Mrs Offord said will submit her third submission before June 1.

Details: www.transport.nsw.gov.au/corridors/oso

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