More than 25,000 new residents could move in to the southernmost part of West Dapto in coming years, creating a traffic and congestion nightmare unless the NSW Government intervenes.
That’s the view of Wollongong lord mayor Gordon Bradbery, who has raised concerns about the rapid and intensifying development in Calderwood and Yallah-Marshall Mount.
This week, the NSW Government signed off on a long-awaited plan to allow nine new suburbs within Yallah-Marshall Mount to be developed. This will make way for about 4000 new homes, or around 11,000 residents.
In addition, Calderwood developers Lend Lease have applied to NSW Planning to put up to 7000 homes on the land where 4800 dwellings are already approved.
Covering a land area larger than present-day greater Dapto, the two land releases could house up to 25,000 people – roughly the same number of people living in the whole Dapto-Avondale area now.
“The main route out of that area to the north is Marshall Mount Road, and that connects to Avondale Road and Yallah Road back onto the M1 – it’s a crazy way to access the freeway,” he said.
“Marshall Mount Road just can’t hold the volumes of traffic; we need to get it sorted. There’s single-lane bridges, lots of constraints, doglegs and all sorts of things.”
In its long term strategy to open up the rural and agricultural land west of Dapto for housing, Wollongong council had planned for development would progress from the north – at Kembla Grange and Wongawilli – towards the south.
This, according to Cr Bradbery, would have allowed for an orderly roll out of roads – like the under-construction Fowlers Road bridge – to service homes.
However, in 2010, the NSW Government approved the rezoning of Calderwood after a legal battle, putting these plans into disarray.
“We originally wanted all of this to unfold from the north, but the Land and Envrionment Court overturned Wollongong and Shellharbour council’s decision,” Cr Bradbery said.
“Now we have all this infrastructure that’s needed – and all these land releases – which is really presenting some big challenges for us.”
The council has estimated basic infrastructure for West Dapto will cost about $1 billion over the next 50 years.
Cr Bradbery said some of this would be covered by developer taxes, collected by councils, however, without extra state funding and recognition of the significance of the roads, Wollongong ratepayers would be left with the bill – or West Dapto residents could be left without adequate roads.
“The state government needs to come to the party, sort out which are going to be state roads and major roads of connectivity from West Dapto through to Calderwood,” Cr Bradbery said.
Tullimbar developers given the go-ahead to build new Dapto town
After years of lobbying, Wollongong council and NSW Planning have given the go ahead for more than 4000 homes to be built at Yallah-Marshall Mount.
Led by Tullimbar developer, the Fountaindale Group, the decision brings forward a long-held plan to build homes at the southernmost part of West Dapto.
Originally planned to be the last phase in the development area, the decision to rezone had been put off due to concerns over infrastructure.
The planning proposal was put out for public comment in 2014.
Late last year, the government agreed to an updated plan to collect money from developers, prompting Wollongong councillors to give their approval.
On Friday, NSW Planning minister Antony Roberts heralded his government decision to amend the Wollongong Local Environmental Plan.
He said there were provisions in place for new roads.
“It is important that, with any new community, sufficient infrastructure is in place, so as part of this rezoning, new and upgraded roads will ensure good connection to the regional and state roadways,” he said.
He said the rezoning of 1,000 hectares of land from rural to a mix of residential, business, environmental, open space and industrial zones would open up an “exciting new community”.