Homes saved in Blacktown environment plan

Christmas came early for 66 households at a Blacktown Council extraordinary meeting on Monday night.

Around 150 residents and business representatives packed Bowman Hall to hear councillors debate the revised Blacktown Local Environment Plan (BLEP) and tell them how the BLEP will impact on their lives.

Labor councillors proposed to make four amendments to the BLEP, including the removal of 66 homes that were to be acquired for open space.

After listening intently to speakers during the public forum, independent Russ Dickens originally wanted to defer the report until February, which was met with boos from the crowd.

But realising the rest of the councillors wanted to make a decision that  night and after council planning director Glennys James said the removal of the homes earmarked for open space would not be an impediment on the BLEP, Councillor Dickens voted with Labor councillors to endorse the BLEP with the four amendments.

The decision was met with cheers and a standing ovation from the audience.

Labor councillor Stephen Bali described the support for the amendments as ''pleasing but surprising.''

''I commend Councillor Dickens on his courageous stance,'' he said.

Afterwards, Liberal councillor Jacqueline Donaldson described the amended plan as short sighted.

''Within 20 years there will be high-rise around all the transport hubs,'' she said.

''I grew up in South East London and when you have high-rise and no open space you get increased social problems. Having a park at Oakhurst will not benefit someone in a high-rise at Mountt Druitt as Charlie Lowles (Labor councillor) said in a recent council meeting, parks should be near where the residents are.''

But she was pleased the BLEP was endorsed.

''The passing of the BLEP will stop developers being able to crowd blocks of land with overdevelopment as they have done prior to this BLEP which will be of benefit for the whole LGA and produce more breathing space and better traffic control,'' Cr Donaldson said.

Blacktown Residents Voice spokeswoman Indira Devi has been camapigning to save residents' home for almost a year.

She is now considering to contest the 2015 council elections.

''My message to the councillors is to consult and listen to us, which some still aren't doing,''  Mrs Devi said.

This story Homes saved in Blacktown environment plan first appeared on St Marys-Mt Druitt Star.


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