South Dural developers tackle local concerns

Mike Milliken stands before the forest that won’t be touched
Mike Milliken stands before the forest that won’t be touched

The developers behind the proposal to build 2,900 new homes in South Dural has responded to claims that there aren’t enough educational provisions in the scheme, the roads won’t cope, there’s a dearth of sporting spaces and the natural habitats will be harmed if it goes ahead.

A public consultation process is being conducted by Hornsby Council into the rezoning of the proposed area – bordering Old Northern Road, New Line and Hastings Roads – and unless this gets the go-ahead at state and local level, the scheme to build 2,900 homes won’t get off the starting blocks.

The Monthly Chronicle met with developer Mike Milliken from Lyon Group Australia to address these issues. On the environmental concerns, he said: “We employed two ecologists to do reports and the forests are not being touched, and the zoning will prevent forests from being developed. There’s also up to 40 metres either side of the development where you can’t put buildings – it needs to be open space for the RFS has access in case of fire.”

When asked about recreational spaces in the DA, Milliken said: “We’re the main landowner in the north west precinct and we offered Council a full size playing field of around 120m x 80m, plus a kick-about area as an informal active recreation area. There are opportunities to create similar playing fields and active recreation areas in the other precincts of South Dural.”

Apartment blocks with flats, townhouses and stand-alone dwellings of two or three bedrooms , some backing directly onto the forest, all feature in the huge proposal.

Some of the fiercest opposition to the plans have centred around the lack of provision for schools. “As part of the rezoning process we had to do a report looking at the requirement for schools – and the Department of Education told us there was no need for a new school, that they would develop existing schools. If it’s found there needs to be a new school, then one will be provided.”

He added that Hornsby Council were currently in discussions with the Department of Education on this.

On the roads, Milliken said that “the two main arterial roads are operating now at or close to their capacity and at a poor level of performance. The RMS model shows that by 2026 all sections of these two arterial roads will be need to be upgraded with or without the traffic from the proposed South Dural development.  

“South Dural will only be re-zoned if the upgrade of these arterial roads is on a Government works program. So we’re talking to the Department of Transport about these required upgrades and the offer is for South Dural developers to contribute $73m out of the $158m it will cost to fix the roads.

“To pay for this we propose breaking the area into five precincts with each precinct required to pay its share of the upgrade cost before being allowed to lodge Development Applications.”

Jacqui Goddard from Residents’ Infrastructure and Planning Alliance said: “On the recreation issue, the plans on public exhibition note that the riparian zone is to be used as ‘public recreation’ – that cannot be sports fields as it’s a strip that follows the creek and the bushfire protection zone. It isn’t clear what that actually allows but the suggestion seems to be that this is the ‘hand over to Council’ bit with space for playing fields attached in some fashion – it’s all very vague.”

On the ecological aspects of the scheme : “Surrounding the bush with dwellings does not allow for wildlife corridors which would ultimately threaten native fauna and the introduction of gardens and pets adds to potential further weed infestation and loss of flora and fauna – not to mention simply having people ‘recreating’ there.”

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