The New South Wales Government has fast-tracked the Parkwood rezoning application for 5000 new homes to accommodate 13,000 people in the Yass Valley.
The proponent of the cross-border development, Riverview Developments, must lodge a development application for infrastructure such as roads, water, electricity and sewerage within six months under the fast-tracking process.
The purpose of the fast-tracking process is to redirect resources within the Department of Planning to accelerate the assessment and determination of projects that will boost the New South Wales economy and provide jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Parkwood is estimated to provide 3800 jobs and contribute $1.88 billion to the New South Wales economy, but not straight away.
Yass Valley Council general manager Chris Berry said he was confident the developer could meet the six-month timeframe to lodge a development application but that extensive works were much further away.
“A development of this size is staged in a logical way. Working with the base infrastructure is a good starting point, it is normally where you would start a major project. I am certain Riverview Developments will meet the timeframe for the initial development application, but it will not be the only development application issued over the life of this project,” Mr Berry said.
The rezoning application alone has taken double the time the council predicted.
“When I joined the council five years ago, we were working towards approval of the rezoning within 18 months to two years. Now we have changed the colours on the map but it has taken us twice as long as originally planned,” he said.
Parkwood Developer, Mr David Maxwell also said it was unlikely houses on the development would be built before 2034, as originally planned.
“I do not see anything changing from the development timeframe at the moment in terms of delivering houses. What the development application will be about is delivering key infrastructure in New South Wales that will help the delivery of homes go ahead at the right time,” he said.
“We have to balance the delivery of infrastructure along with the take-up of homes.”
The balancing act will be between establishing infrastructure now and ensuring it will last until the houses are built in 15 years time.
“The thing for us is getting the infrastructure in place that starts to approve the access into New South Wales,” Mr Maxwell said.
Access to Parkwood will be from the Australian Capital Territory, which makes managing services such as rubbish collection and policing a challenge. The project has already been in consultation for more than 11 years.
However, Mr Maxwell said approval of the rezoning was a major milestone for the development.
“It is nice to finally be at this point,” he said.
Mr Maxwell also said construction on the Australian Capital Territory side of the cross-border development, known as Ginninderry, was already providing jobs for New South Wales residents.
“What we have found is that in stage one of the development, on the Australian Capital Territory side, a civil contractor who has a $30 million contract for infrastructure, for example, employs a third of their workforce from New South Wales. We’ve estimated that 50 per cent of the procurement for stage one is actually sourced from New South Wales,” he said.
Mr Maxwell said he had a couple of concepts on the table for the development application that will be lodged in six months.
“There are four other landowners that are part of the New South Wales rezoning, so we are meeting with them on July 22 to work through the initial basis of the development application. Once that is done, we will begin community consultation,” he said.
The council will determine if more staff are needed to process the application within six months once it knows more of the detail, Mr Berry said.
“Usually with infrastructure, it is more about the engineering support we can provide, not so much the planning. The planning should be straight forward,” he said.
“We need to get a good understanding of what the development application is likely to be. If it is about building the first section of road into Parkwood, it will not be a difficult development application to process, instead, it will be about making sure the design is okay.”