Recently the planning proposal for the IBM Site in West Pennant Hills came before Council. The next milestone will be exhibition for public comment, subject to the Department of Planning & Environment endorsing Council’s approach.
As an East Ward Councillor and representative for the residents of West Pennant Hills, I believe it is important to explain my rationale in supporting the proposal.
Seeking the highest level of protection for the ten hectares of pristine forest was the number one concern of local residents. The site’s current B7 zoning of Business Park meant that the forest would always be at risk.
Through intense lobbying and negotiations, we were able to recommend the rarely used E2 Environmental Protection zoning over this bushland. With the proponent in ongoing discussions with the State Government to consolidate this land into the Cumberland State Forest, I was now confident that the forest would be protected into perpetuity.
The West Pennant Hills community is desperately under resourced when it comes to sporting fields, with only the heavily over utilised George Thornton Reserve being available for local sports clubs. This Planning Proposal will provide the community with a full sized synthetic football field, resistant to weather conditions, and available all year round, in contrast to the existing grassed fields that are limited to 25 hours of usage per week. I could not pass up this opportunity to provide our local children with access to a premium sporting facility.
The IBM site, with its 1,600 car spaces, and at the height of its activity, had thousands of traffic movements a day. The replacement of this facility with family dwellings, and the introduction of the North West Metro and North Connex, will have a positive impact on the existing road infrastructure throughout the valley.
While this Planning Proposal brings a large amount of change to the West Pennant Hills community, which can be daunting, there are some tremendous opportunities that will be delivered as a result of this proposal coming to fruition.