The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) has issued the Planning Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs) for a proposed wildlife and tourism development at 10 Great Western Highway, Wentworth Falls.  

The SEARs can be found on the project page at: https://www.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/major-projects/project/41246 

Council’s submission to the preparation of the SEARs can be found below.  

A development consent was issued for a flora and fauna park on this site by the NSW Land and Environment Court in 1989. This consent has previously been the focus of community attention and has been referred to as a ‘zombie DA’ given it is an old approval that, despite lying dormant for decades, is free to be taken up by the land owner despite it not meeting contemporary expectations around protection of the environment.

See previous media releases on the zombie DA issue here:

Council’s concerns increase about development of wildlife park at Wentworth Falls  
Concerns about scale of development of Flora and Fauna Park at Wentworth Falls

The site has also been the subject of community interest in recent times due to clearing of vegetation from a large portion of the site in 2019. It has been alleged that this clearing extended beyond the limits imposed by the 1989 approval. This alleged unauthorised clearing is the subject of an ongoing investigation by BMCC. 

Documents submitted by Aesthete No.14 Pty Ltd (the Applicant) for the State Significant Development Proposal, including the request for SEARs which is available on the DPIE project page, show a development footprint that extends well beyond both the footprint of the 1989 approved development, and the extent of land cleared in 2019. 

The Applicant is not expected to lodge a development application and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposal until late 2021 or early 2022. 

The EIS is required to include a detailed analysis and assessment of the impacts of the proposal, and will be subject to a merit assessment by DPIE. 

Following lodgement, the EIS will be placed on public exhibition and any member of the community will be able to make a formal submission at that time. The Applicant will be required to provide a detailed response to the issues raised in submissions, and this response will be made publicly available on DPIE’s website. 

To keep updated on the proposal, community members may subscribe for project updates on DPIE’s website at the project page.  

DPIE have stated that community members are encouraged to make a submission on the proposal when it is lodged and placed on public exhibition, not at this stage of the planning process. However, BMCC has been advised that comments can be submitted online at DPIE’s contact page: https://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/Contact-Us