Baulkham Hills State Liberal MP David Elliott and Liberal Councillor for North Rocks Ward Andrew Jefferies have warned expressions of interest concerning rezoning the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC) site at North Rocks beyond its current low-density residential approval “will ignite severe community backlash”.
Mr Elliott and Councillor Jefferies said the announcement by RIDBC that its prime 12.6ha estate is likely to be rezoned following discussions with council and state planning demonstrates an absolute disregard for the current and future needs of residents across North Rocks at the expense of major developers.
“For almost 60 years, the Royal Institute has provided mostly residential facilities for hearing and vision impaired children who were segregated from the North Rocks community. Suggestions that the $200 million site has the potential for future rezoning will spark fears from North Rocks residents that their community will be sold to the highest bidder,” said Mr Elliott.
“RIDBC has approached The Hills Shire Council prior to the boundary adjustment, in addition to the City of Parramatta Council to seek support for high-density rezoning. In both instances, RIDBC was advised that the best possible outcome was a mix of low-density single dwellings and possible townhouses,” said Councillor Jefferies.
Mr Elliott and Councillor Jefferies said they would not support any large-scale development applications or rezoning until the infrastructure backlog in North Rocks was cleared.
“Constituents in Baulkham Hills have been left behind for far too long with respect to the provision of adequate infrastructure. If developers want to bring in new residents, they can bring new infrastructure with them.
“I am open to expressions of interest concerning the potential for aged care or a retirement village on the site. However, the promotion of the site and its vicinity as a rarity in the middle of suburbia after two different Councils have advised on two separate occasions against support for high-density leads Councillor Jefferies and I to believe the Institute is more interested in money than delivering appropriate outcomes,” said Mr Elliott.
“Future land use should include the opening up of the reserve oval space for the North Rocks community and its range of local sports clubs. This can be achieved through a dedication of land to the City of Parramatta Council or be built and enhanced by the landowner,” said Councillor Jefferies.
“For as long as I am representative of the North Rocks community, there will not be a high-rise on this site. I want the future landowner to clearly understand the thoughts and views of our community and to work with Council to deliver a sustainable, low-density outcome that caters for the family-friendly environment North Rocks is renowned for.”