Source: ABC news
Ingleside development shelved after report identifies extreme bushfire risk to residents
PHOTO: Two national parks adjoin the proposed development. (Supplied: NSW Planning)
A major residential development for Sydney's northern beaches has been shelved due to an "unacceptable" bushfire risk.
About 3,400 homes would have been built in Ingleside, between the northern beaches suburbs of Bayview and Elanora Heights, under the proposed land release
for residential and business development.
However an independent review into the proposed Ingleside development plan found the location — flanked by Ku-ring-gai Chase and Garigal national
parks — would expose residents to "extreme existing bushfire risk".
In its report, consultancy firm Meridian Urban also warned of the potentially deadly evacuation challenges.
"Ingleside is completely surrounded by hazard, every evacuation route with the exception of Powderworks Road requires residents and fire services to traverse
bushland to enter or evacuate," the report found.
It identified Powderworks Road as a potential bottleneck during an Ingleside emergency.
This would be compounded by evacuees moving south from Elanora Heights, the report said.
Back to the drawing board
The Department of Planning and Environment said safety was the primary concern when planning for communities and the proposed plan "may have exposed new
residents to unacceptable bushfire risks".
The department's acting deputy secretary, Brett Whitworth, said the proposal would need to go back to the drawing board.
"What we've decided to do is not proceed with the draft plan," he said.
"We don't want to put more people into an area where there is a concern that houses might be burnt, people's lives might be lost."
He said the department would work with local council, the Rural Fire Service and the community "to identify a future for Ingleside that is built around
"Any development would need to be at a much lower scale and we would need a guarantee that the road network could handle the extra development in the event
of an evacuation," he said.
"It would also need to include upgrades to the existing road network and bushfire defences, for example by introducing strategic firefighting water supply
In a media statement released Friday, Northern Beaches Council's CEO, Ray Brownlee, said the proposal in its current form was not viable.
The New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment first released the draft land use strategy in 2016 for community consultation.
Further consultations on the project are expected to conclude next year.