About 100 residents gathered at a community meeting on Sunday to discuss rezoning plans for the old Corrimal cokeworks site.
Members of the newly incorporated Corrimal Community Action Group wanted to update residents ahead of its meeting with the developer, Illawarra Coke Company, on Tuesday.
In early April Wollongong councillors voted to allow a proposal to rezone the former cokeworks site – which was the oldest continuous coke-making operation in the world – for 736 homes to progress through the NSW planning system.
At the community meeting, residents expressed concerns and wanted a guarantee the site would be decontaminated, increased traffic issues would be dealt with, environmental and flooding concerns would be addressed plus the inclusion of safe pedestrian and cycleway access before the rezoning and development proceeds.
Action group member Martin Cubby said the group was open to discussion but was prepared for an uphill battle.
“We know the developer has a lot of money and influence that can be brought to bear but we will work together as residents because the other option is to do nothing,” he said. “It is going to be a battle.”
Action group organiser Anne Marett’s encouraged residents to make their voices heard and continue to put in submissions before the rezoning was finalised.
One resident Matt Phillips said he lived on Colgong Crescent and was concerned about flooding from Towradgi Creek.
“We can't get contents insurance because we live in a high flood risk zone and this development increases that risk,” he said.
Rose LePage, who lives on Princess Street, said residents should be asking for a reduction in the number of homes at the site and was worried about traffic congestion.
“People don’t have one car any more, most have two per family,” she said. “Can you imagine the gridlock [along the one access street]?
“If there is a fire or accident, how are the firies and paramedics going to get in and out? What happens when the garbage is collected?”
Mr Cubby said it would be important for residents to contact Keira MP Ryan Park to try to make the development an election issue.
“All we are trying to do is make sure our community has a say in the future of this site,” he said. “A site that has been a part of this community for many, many decades. It is going to change but that change has to happen with the consent of the community.
“We are really concerned the community’s worries are not going to be taken into account.”
The developer is set to resubmit its plans to rezone the old cokeworks site with Wollongong City Council and is required to revise its flood and ecological studies, the traffic impact study, contamination remediation plan among other reports.
Wollongong City Council is also in the process of preparing its planning controls for demolition, earthworks, ecological sustainability, heritage impact and stormwater for the site.
The reports and controls will go on public exhibition and residents will have 60 days to put in submissions and attend public meetings held by council.