A proposal for the Kiama Municipality to accommodate 4800 new dwellings by 2031 would destroy the character of the area, according to Kiama mayor Brian Petschler.
In August the Department of Planning and Infrastructure released its discussion paper The Illawarra over the next 20 years, which found the Illawarra needed to plan for an additional 31,300 dwellings over the next 20 years, of which Kiama would need to supply 3000.
Revised figures have seen the department release new forecasts with ‘‘a count for unoccupied private dwellings included’’, which has seen Kiama’s dwelling projections increase to 4800 by 2031.
Cr Petschler said the council went to great lengths to develop the Kiama Urban Strategy 2011, which took into account the previous NSW government forecast that 1890 dwellings would be required in the municipality by 2031.
The urban strategy anticipated that the increase in the number of dwellings could be accommodated through ‘‘urban infill and existing medium-density zoned land’’, which had the benefit of containing the existing urban boundaries.
Kiama council’s director of environmental services Phil Costello said the new projection of 4800 dwellings would require substantial new greenfield development into land not appropriately zoned.
Mr Costello said this raised a number of complex issues and concerns including protection of coastal landscapes, and valuation of rural land both in today’s terms and in the future.
On Tuesday night Kiama councillors endorsed a submission to the department raising issues of concern.
Cr Petschler said while the figures were not yet ‘‘in cement’’, the concern was formula being used for the region did not take into proper account the nature of the Kiama municipality.
‘‘While there are massive development areas in West Dapto and Shellharbour, this municipality is a different kettle of fish,’’ Cr Petschler said.
‘‘The Kiama municipality is essentially a rural area and has not been planned as an urban development area.
‘‘It appears that they are applying a statistical ruler to Kiama which is based on projections for Wollongong and Shellharbour ... it has the potential to destroy the character of the whole area.’’
Kiama MP Gareth Ward said while he appreciated that communities needed to grow, ‘‘it must be done in a manner that preserves the lifestyle residents enjoy’’.
He said he supported the council in its stand.
Mr Ward said he had fought and would continue to fight to preserve the green buffer between Gerroa and Gerringong and said he would not support urban expansion of Jamberoo or development in areas such as Foxground or Toolijooa, south of Gerringong. In 2008 a proposal for a ‘‘lifestyle village’’ at Toolijooa that would have housed 1500 people was rejected in the Land and Environment Court.
‘‘I will work very closely with the council to resolve these issues and I will not allow any bullying of the community to take place,’’ Mr Ward said.