Residents, council slam plans for new suburb

Liberal councillor Rory Amon said he was not opposed to all development but the government’s plan to “dump” 980 dwellings in Ingleside was against the community’s wishes.

“The Ingleside development proposal is an unmitigated disaster waiting to happen – on every single level it’s a failure,” he said. “It creates unacceptable fire, environmental, funding and infrastructure costs and risk.”

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Independent councillor Vincent De Luca said he opposed the plans in the “strongest form” because of the bushfire risk, lack of infrastructure and cumulative impact on nearby suburbs. “There are potential flooding issues and traffic chaos that have not been properly contemplated.”

Cr De Luca raised concerns about bushfires and poorly maintained fire trails in the area at last week’s meeting of the Northern Beaches Council.

“Residents of Ingleside [are] very frightened the trails are overgrown and have not been maintained, thus preventing RFS to access,” he said.

In a letter to residents, Cr Regan said the council would have to find somewhere else in the northern beaches for more homes if it opposed development in Ingleside.

“Brookvale for me, is far better placed to take the future development targets both now and in the future,” he said. “It is where the jobs are and is close to the transport links, including future ones such as Beaches Link tunnel. That said, staff may have a different view. Either way, Ingleside is not the answer.”

Simone Pietschner, spokeswoman for the South Ingleside Residents Group, said the scaled-back plans for the new suburb did not mitigate their concerns, particularly about bushfire risks.

“The opportunities to safely evacuate are restricted by the local road network,” she said. “I can’t imagine how much scarier it would be knowing that I would be trying to evacuate with an extra 3000 residents from the new precinct.”

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Ms Pietschner said the area had a rural bushland character with little infrastructure or services. “Basics like water and sewage are not what you would expect of a Sydney suburb,” she said.

Other concerns include land clearing and the destruction of habitats for threatened species.

Ms Pietschner said residents favoured environmentally sensitive development that “might include 2000 square metre minimum blocks and possibly some green spaces or sports facilities”.

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