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West Menai Development Proposals

Update from West Menai PRA - 10 July 2001

Following pressure by local residents and West Menai & Menai Residents Associations the two sites that Landcom were going to develop will not be developed in the near future. The next stage will be to push to have these areas preserved (via an environmental protection zoning or inclusion in Georges River NP) if possible. The sites represent half of the remaining 2% of plateua land left in its natural state in the Menai region.
The following information has been supplied by Menai West Precinct Residents' Association who are concerned about large-scale developments proposed for Old Illawarra Road south of Hall Drive and north of Monash Road. Areas of significant bushland (left) are under threat as described by renowned author Alan Fairley who has recently visited the site.

(Photos: Roy Dixon)

Alan Fairley (report after site visit)

"In an area like Menai-Bangor where there is both shale and sandstone habitats and which has been sub-divided so extensively over the last 10 years, every patch of bushland is valuable. In the past, I have photographed numerous wildflowers on the Menai plateau, but unfortunately many of those sites are now covered with houses

Shale ridges and shale-sandstone interfaces are habitats which are becoming increasingly scarce in the Sydney area and contain a number of rare and threatened species of native plants.

The preservation of these species depends on the preservation of their habitat. The areas currently threatened with development are, in general, fine areas of forested plateau and slopes and are rich in wildflowers (and no doubt in wildlife).
Any sub-division for houses would destroy valuable bushland and seriously affect the adjoining catchments of Mill Creek and Georges River by run-off and urban pollution."

Alan Fairley Author of Wildflowers of Sydney, Native Plants of Oatley Park, Discovering Royal National Park on Foot, National Parks of New South Wales, and co-author of Native Plants of the Sydney District.

Natural Environment

  • Over recent years we have seen a significant reduction in the natural bushland through development at a magnitude and rate that is unacceptable to a stage. (only 2% remains)
  • Now only two undeveloped ridges remain both of which are under threat from development. These proposed developments would mean the loss of the last hectares of pristine bushland and valuable.habitat in Menai.

Other issues

Access and Traffic/Lack of Infrastructure

  • The developers can give no guarantee that traffic will not be forced into Hall Drive when the north / south motorway is complete. This would mean an additional 900 plus traffic movements per day for Hall Drive. (below) Site maps link the 3 southern developments to Hall Drive.
  • Increase traffic on local roads that are already at capacity. Increased pressure on the limited parking in Menai Market Place and Metro. Further congestion in Allison Crescent and surrounding area.
  • Increase in traffic at intersection on of Old Illawarra Road and Monash Road an already dangerous intersection.
  • The Woodward report commissioned by the Sutherland Shire Council recommended that "in the west of the shire no further residential land should be made available until the transport and traffic system is substantially upgraded."
  • The ad hoc nature of development and total lack of planning in this area has been responsible for the current gridlocked roads. Further development would worsen this situation.

Fire Risk

  • The Menai plateau has a high fire risk rating. Subdivisions along ridgelines, served by a single spine road creating allotments directly adjoining bushland facing north and west breaks all sensible rules of planning in bushfire prone areas.
  • When these developments are linked to Hall Drive and the north / south motorway is built it will create a serious fire risk as well as problems in evacuating residents in a nuclear or other emergency. We don't want to repeat planning mistakes of the past.
For more information about these issues contact the West Menai Precinct Residents' Association via email here.
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