Critics slam Calderwood backflip

WOLLONGONG ADVERTISER

‘‘Alarming’’ and ‘‘madness’’ is how Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery has described the NSW Planning Assessment Commission’s decision that the  $3 billion Calderwood project can be approved.

Residents are also stunned by the PAC’s about-face on the court appeal regarding stage one.

The commission last week advised the 4800-lot subdivision ‘‘may be approved’’ – a view at odds with its earlier rejection, labelling it inconsistent with the Illawarra Regional Strategy and citing concerns over flooding.

Lend Lease lodged an appeal with the Land and Environment Court and the hearing is set for March 6 to 8. However, last week the Department of Planning and Infrastructure said based on further information including ‘‘expert advice’’, it was satisfied stage one could be approved, with conditions.

Cr Bradbery said the decision was alarming.

‘‘We have a regional development strategy and that has been completely ignored in this process,’’ he said.

‘‘How are Shellharbour and Wollongong councils going to be able to fund the excess infrastructure that would be required for this development? I’m concerned for the residents of Shellharbour, who are going to be faced with a very large infrastructure bill.’’

The decision would also affect the West Dapto access strategy.

‘‘It’s madness when you think how this proposed development could impact on roads like Marshall Mount Road and Yallah Road.

‘‘If it’s to go ahead, we’re going to have to look at ways to put more money into those roads.’’

Cr Bradbery said the two councils didn’t have enough funds to be doing two large land releases at once.

Tullimbar’s Rob Grimmett,  who went door-knocking to acquire petition signatures was ‘‘absolutely stunned’’. 

‘‘After not hearing a thing for months, then hearing that they’ve backflipped, I’m almost lost for words,’’ he said.

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