Extra Tallawarra homes a risk to Lake Illawarra, submissions say

Changing landscapes: An artist's impression of the view from Kanahooka across Lake Illawarra to the hills at Tallawarra, where the 'North Shore' precinct of the development will be located.
Changing landscapes: An artist's impression of the view from Kanahooka across Lake Illawarra to the hills at Tallawarra, where the 'North Shore' precinct of the development will be located.

A developer’s plan to build hundreds more higher density homes on the shores of Lake Illawarra has attracted criticism from environmental groups and government agencies.

Earlier this year, the Sydney-based Bridgehill Group requested an almost 50 per cent increase in the number of homes at its Tallawarra Lands estate, south of Dapto, taking the number of houses from 1010 to 1480.

However, the main council advisory body for the lake – the Lake Illawarra Estuary Management Committee – has told NSW Planning this request would result in “inappropriate” development that would restrict access to the foreshore and increase water pollution.

The committee said the new Bridgehill plan would result in a 60 per cent increase to housing density in two residential precincts of the Tallawarra development, which would affect parking, access and traffic congestion.

“The footpath will become a parking lot and it will limit green space in front of houses,” it said in submission.

Extra housing and cars would also increase traffic in and out of the development, affecting the Dapto CBD and Kanahooka Road, the committee said.

Water quality and pressure on the sewage system was also a major concern, as there were “already occasions where sewage overflows feed into Lake Illawarra from the Kanahooka pumping station, having a significant impact on the water quality”.

To environmental groups, the Save Lake Illawarra Action Group and the Illawarra Birders, also lodged their objections to the extra homes saying they would place a strain on the environment .

A number of government agencies issued comments on the Bridgehill proposal, including one from the Department of Lands and Water which honed in on stormwater and groundwater.

The department said any approval should include stormwater quality targets to ensure there was no degradation of water quality within the lake, and that there should be requirements to audit water quality controls during construction.

It also said work on the development must stop if any groundwater was intercepted during construction, and asked for more evidence of zinc, arsenic and lead found in the soil on site.

One organisation – the Illawarra Housing Trust – lodged a submission in support of the extra homes, on the condition the development includes a 15 per cent allocation for affordable rental homes.

It said land dedicated for affordable housing – which should be split between social housing and affordable homes – should be gifted to a not-for-profit housing provider, like the trust.

“In return for the land, Housing Trust would undertake extensive stakeholder consultation, design and construction works,” the submission said.

The initial concept plan for the massive housing development on part of the old Tallawarra Power Station land was approved in 2013.