We’re going from Koala Town to Oran Park Town

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The Lend Lease housing development at Gilead passed through a big hurdle at Campbelltown Council last night, but not before opponents warned it could mean bad news for local koalas – and ecotourism.

Approval for stage two will mean an additional 15,000 people between now and 2035 will live in Gilead, including Figree Hill (pictured above) as stage one is known.

Animal Justice Party councillor Matt Stellino said the decision to approve or not the biodiversity certification application for stage two was “a big deal, it will mean a lot of houses’’.

Cr Stellino, who in the end was the only vote against it, said housing development would not be good for the koala colony there or local tourism.

“Koala Town is our identity, and we may have to change it to Oran Park Town if this goes ahead,’’ he said.

“As for tourism, well, tourists wouldn’t come to see Figtree Hill.’’

The biodiversity certification process has been applied to this huge development along Appin Road in a bid to address competing development and conservation outcomes.

Stage 2 is a 269 hectare development of mostly low and medium density housing, as well as infrastructure, retail and educational facilities, public spaces, active and passive open spaces areas and conservation lands.

Development is likely to commence in 2025 and take up to 10 years to complete in eight stages, depending on demand for housing.

Council received 626 submissions during the biodiversity certification process exhibition period and a further 53 submissions after the close of exhibition.

A total of 24 submission were received from people with Campbelltown addresses, and a further five after the exhibition period.

There were 263 submissions from Sydney and NSW combined, plus 98 from the rest of Australia and 47 from overseas.

A proposed underground koala corridor.

A report to council said that the submissions raised a number of concerns relating to the “inadequacy of surveys for threatened species, unacceptable impacts to the Campbelltown koala population (including inadequate koala corridors) and unacceptable impacts to listed endangered ecological communities”.

Three opponents of the proposed housing development addressed the council before it made its decision.

One of them, local resident Matt Twaddell, told council that they should treat the application like a quote from a tradie.

“Be careful if something’s not in the quote, because it gives the developer too much wiggle room,’’ he said.

“There is a lot of grey area in this, including the size of the koala corridors.’’

8 thoughts on “We’re going from Koala Town to Oran Park Town”

  1. I’m Maria Paola Torti from Italy.
    We from overseas are shocked about the Campbelltown vote from Councillors in favour of Biocertification Stage 2 Mt Gilead.
    They put another nail in the coffin of Campbelltown’s koalas! Shame on them.
    Councillor Brticevic was arrogant superior and dismissed the international advocate koala voices. We demand an official apology from him.
    The world is watching!!

  2. Campbelltown has been a cash cow for developers fo as long as I can remember and I can’t think of any community benefits that have flowed to the residents except more residents.
    Now that lot sizes have been reduced to half compared to other estates like Sherwood Hills and other older estates every tree must be removed to get more homes and this results in big increases in summer temperatures.
    The developers don’t live in our areas but on the cool beaches suburbs as the locals sweat in their packed estates

  3. Campbelltown Council have lost the plot – advertising themselves as koala sympathetic and centric, yet endlessly making moves that will wipe them out.
    Building a concrete wall enclosed “Billabong” to replace all the rivers and creeks that they have turned into concrete drains or hidden with overgrowth.
    The plan is to create a dormitory suburb with no comfort contained within and leaving squeezed families to travel elsewhere for enjoyment.
    The area struggles to keep up with matching services.

  4. Will people ever respect what piece of real Aboriginal and Australian history is been lost?
    We are creating slums of the future, the vast majority of the new residents will have very little respect for the environment.
    This development is another nail in the coffin of our already under threat Nepean Hawkesbury River system.

  5. ‘Koalatown’ could have been unique in Sydney. Unique in NSW. Unique in Australia. Unique in the world.
    In the near future…
    “An expanding disease free koala colony once inhabited the bushland near Campbelltown NSW. The koalas traversed the bushland corridors from the Georges River to the Nepean River, mating with other disease free koalas and keeping their gene pool strong and healthy.
    This could have been the largest koala tourism attraction in Australia, providing hundreds of local jobs in hospitality and tourism, and ensuring an ongoing income stream for the City and it’s residents from visitors nationally and internationally.
    As the world’s wild spaces and wildlife populations diminish and fragment, Campbelltown had what could have been the envy of the world.
    They squandered this precious and irreplaceable asset of International significance on an ill-planned and totally inappropriate housing development that spelled certain death to the koalas and the promise of a thriving tourist economy.”

    Now is that one brief window of opportunity when the Council, the State Government and the Federal Government have the opportunity and ability to change the course of natural history for the benefit of all.
    Will they have the foresight and gumption to do this?

  6. Thankyou to Councillor Stellino for standing up for Koalas and the people of Campbelltown. It is wrong that the green space for Campbelltown is being used for overdevelopment.
    It is wonderful to see the love and interest our Koalas have not just in this region but in Australia and all over the world.
    If you care write to the State and Federal Environment Ministers ask them to block this extinction development.
    If you are looking for a place to live don’t buy or rent where the housing developments are causing extinctions.


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