It has taken Penrith City Council six years to decide that a development application for industrial zoning at Emu Plains should be placed in the “too hard” basket and passed on to the Department of Planning for consideration.
But the decision was not made lightly by Councillors; the usually clear political divides were abandoned as debate consumed the chamber last Ordinary Meeting [October 15].
Back in February 2006, a planning proposal was submitted to Penrith City Council requesting that the land at 1-4 Old Bathurst Road, be rezoned for light industrial use.
The application was deferred for consideration in the Penrith Local Environmental Plan 2010, which never eventuated and after a number of independent studies and reports, found its way back onto Council’s agenda at the Policy Review Committee on October 8.
After heated discussion, Councillors decided to send the original planning proposal onto the Department of Planning Gateway Process for determination.
But when the minutes of the meeting needed confirmation on October 15, Councillors again debated the merit of the proposal.
“I would like to see the decision to send this proposal to the Gateway deferred until we can have a briefing on the impacts this development would have on flooding,” Cr Jim Aitken said.
“This affects a lot of people, it affects their whole livelihood. We would be making a very poor judgement on behalf of our ratepayers if we don’t investigate this further.”
Cr John Thain said that Penrith City Council should trust the Department of Planning to make the right decision.
“This is just another stalling tactic to draw it out. I think we should send it to the gateway now.”
Newly elected Cr Marcus Cornish took a site tour prior to the meeting and found development of the site favourable.
“It is the only section of land that I think should be developed [in this area]. It is much higher than the other land around it,” he said.
“My main concern was the impact it would have on the residents of Russell Street but the park softens the impact and addresses the issue quite well.”
A vote to have the decision deferred and a further investigation take place of flooding issues on the site was defeated.
Labor Councillors Greg Davies, Prue Car, John Thain, Karen McKeown, gained the support of Independent Jackie Greenow and Liberal-leaning Independents Marcus Cornish and Mayor Mark Davies, to see the proposal sent on to the Department.