Friday, 15 March 2024 12:20

Western Sydney councils urge housing plan meetings with government Featured

Waste collection bins outside a Western Sydney apartment complex Waste collection bins outside a Western Sydney apartment complex Image supplied

The peak body representing councils in Greater Western Sydney, the Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC), is urging the NSW Government to rethink features of proposed planning changes that WSROC says will jeopardise the state’s ambitious housing targets.

“WSROC is inviting the government to meet with councils to discuss issues such as parking access, domestic waste services and managing urban heat, to ensure that the government’s housing plan can be smoothly and effectively implemented,” said WSROC President, Councillor Barry Calvert.

In December, the NSW Government released a document titled "The Explanation of Intended Effect: Changes to create low and mid-rise housing" outlining major changes to housing planning controls — such as floor space and building height allowances— intended to increase the development capacity of land located near to a “station or town centre precinct".

WSROC quickly identified a host of problems with the housing plan that could push up land values, reduce quality of living, worsen traffic congestion — even cause garbage bins to pile up on footpaths and in streets creating safety and health hazards — among other things.

“WSROC supports efforts by the government to increase housing availability and affordability, provided the outcome is well-designed housing that is sustainable - including financially sustainable,” said Councillor Calvert.

“We are urging the government to sit down with councils to sort through important details of its plan, such as the government’s blanket approach to car spaces across the city.

“Inadequate onsite resident parking will not result in fewer cars on our roads but put further pressures on street parking, and the viability of other services such as waste collection.

“Removing onsite access for waste services in new apartment buildings will see a weekly tsunami of bins into the streets surrounding our train stations, affecting pedestrian safety, parking and movement of traffic during peak periods.

“More bins and large waste items such as furniture at the kerbside block footpaths, contribute to local litter and amenity issues, and are difficult to collect without impacting traffic flow.

Western Sydney councils are also concerned that the government’s proposals don’t adequately address natural and man-made hazards.

“For example, while the proposed reforms acknowledge the worsening flood risk in Greater Western Sydney, particularly in relation to the Hawkesbury Nepean Valley, they don’t address other hazards such as bushfire and heatwaves,” said Councillor Calvert.

“We are also concerned that the government’s proposals do not specify affordable housing delivery or developer contribution requirements — which is particularly concerning given the inevitable uplift in land values within mid-rise housing vicinities.

“WSROC urges the NSW Government to work with local councils to deliver a more nuanced and fit-for-purpose solution to the current housing crisis.

For full details, see WSROC’s submission in response to the plan online at this link.

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