The Mirvac development of the old IBM site next to Cumberland State Forest in West Pennant Hills was fast-tracked by the NSW government in June. The project is now proceeding at full speed. STEP is a member of the Community Reference Committee that has been set up by Mirvac. We are able to receive the details on the evolution of the project.
The DA for demolition was submitted to the Hills Council in December. This confirms that over 1,200 trees will be removed to make way for the residential development site including Blue Gum and STIF vegetation. This is the tree destruction that led to the huge level of opposition from the local community.
The next stage is the submission of the Concept Masterplan DA for the apartment and house developments. The original plan was for 600 dwellings, 400 apartments and 200 houses. This has been reduced to 450, 280 apartments and 170 houses in response to the Department of Planning requirements for Asset Protection Zones and protection of sensitive vegetation. This may change when the DA is submitted.
The number of apartment blocks has been reduced from nine in the original plan to alternative options with seven or four larger blocks. There is the possibility of some sections being up to nine stories. This exceeds the usual height limits. The argument is that the sight lines to the forest will be improved. We await the detailed DA for more information.
The forest area to be dedicated to the management of NSW Forestry as part of Cumberland State Forest has been increased to 10 ha. Mirvac will contribute some of the management costs. This will not occur until the DA has been approved and the subdivision process completed. It is still not known what will happen to other E2 (conservation) zoned areas.