Clash of ambitions: 25,000 homes or a new Sydney airport
April 13, 2012
Second airport … a report commissioned by the federal Transport Minister, Anthony Albanese, identified Wilton as a preferred location.
MORE than 25,000 housing blocks are being considered for the Wilton area, potentially torpedoing it as the location for a second Sydney airport and ratcheting up tension between the state and federal governments.
Confirmation of state government plans for rezoning 2000 hectares for housing came a day after the Herald revealed Canberra had begun the process of establishing a second airport south-west of Sydney.
The Premier, Barry O’Farrell, opposes a second airport in Sydney, preferring a second facility in Canberra with a high-speed rail link to Sydney.
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A report commissioned by the federal Transport Minister, Anthony Albanese, identified Wilton as a preferred location and the federal Transport Department has written to Sydney Airport Corporation asking for talks to initiate the process of approval for a second airport.
In and around the Wilton site the federal government has proposed are five sites the state is considering for housing.
The deputy general manager of Wollondilly Shire Council, which includes Wilton, Luke Johnson, said the areas would be adversely affected by an airport although the precise impact would be known only when flight paths were revealed.
”In general terms, there’s proposals for housing where the airport is proposed,” he said.
”The ones we are talking about are for 6000 sites in west Wilton, 10,000 in total in Wilton, and 10,000 in the area between Appin and Wilton, so the bulk of the dwellings would be in that area.”
The NSW Planning Minister, Brad Hazzard, said the nine Wollondilly sites were on a list of 31 developer-nominated parcels a departmental group was considering for rezoning.
The group is seeking sites for quick rezoning and development to stimulate the housing industry.
Mr Hazzard said he hoped to put recommendations to cabinet by June so the land could be rezoned and development begin.
New housing around Badgerys Creek caused both political parties to abandon that site but Mr Hazzard refused to say whether rezoning so much land at Wilton would have the same effect. ”I am not going to comment in individual sites,” he said.
Late last year 43 developers responded to a government invitation to nominate sites for new housing developments. Mr Hazzard said 12 of those had been eliminated because they did not ”cut the mustard”.
Major sites near a possible Wilton airport include two owned by Walker Corp, one at Appin and one at Wilton south, one owned by Lend Lease at Bingara Gorge and another at south Appin owned by the Mir Group.
While Wollondilly Council has supported some of the proposed rezonings, it is concerned about who will provide the infrastructure for such a rapid expansion, which the council first heard about in January.
”The proposals put to us … are contemplating housing estates where they have a range of lot sizes from 450 to 600 square metres,” Mr Johnson said. ”We did a calculation if they all went forward and we came up with a figure of 25,000 houses. That’s 60 or 75 thousand people.”