Wollondilly Council condemns plans for 18,000 new homes in Appin

Picture: Dean Sewell
Picture: Dean Sewell

Wollondilly councillors have slammed state government plans to build 18,000 new homes in Appin.

The new houses were expected to be built under the proposed Greater Macarthur 2040 plan.

However councilllors said the proposed development contributions, as outlined in the proposed Greater Macarthur Special Infrastructure Contribution (SIC), were "grossly inadequate" at Monday night's council meeting.

Wollondilly mayor Matthew Deeth said significant additional funds were required to provide utilities, education and health facilities, as well as emergency service and public transport infrastructure.

“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,” he said.

The controversial Greater Macarthur 2040 plan was released for community comment late last year.

However Appin residents were only given five days’ notice to attend the only information drop-in session about the proposal held within the shire.

“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," he said.

"Where is the genuine consultation with the community?

“The state government says ‘no housing before infrastructure’ but for Wollondilly this does not hold true."

The Appin plan could potentially bring an additional 54,000 people to Wollondilly if approved, in addition to the expected 45,000 population for Wilton.

Cr Deeth said infrastructure must be appropriately sized and provided before the expected increases in population.

“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," he said.

"This just beggars belief."

Council’s acting planning director Stephen Gardiner said the council had a long-standing position on large scale growth for West Appin, with support for growth at Wilton New Town contingent on not supporting development at West Appin, until 2036.

The government 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.

Cr Deeth questioned the motives of the state government.

"It seems that the government just doesn’t learn or doesn’t care," he said.

"Developers are continually being put first to the detriment of our community.

"We already have land rezoned at Wilton for over 7000 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 per cent being invested in public transport and only 0.1 per cent for health.

The council also expressed its absolute objection to Greater Macarthur 2040 at a meeting last December.

A copy of the final submission will soon be forwarded to the Premier, Minister for Planning, Opposition Leader and the opposition spokesman for planning.