THE NSW Department of Planning and Environment has referred its assessment of a proposal to build a zoo in Western Sydney to the Planning Assessment Commission, recommending strict conditions following community feedback.
The final assessment report for the proposed Sydney Zoo, a new 16 hectare zoo within the Bungarribee Precinct of the Western Sydney Parklands, has been sent to the independent Commission for final decision.
"If approved, the proposed zoo would boost tourism to Western Sydney," a spokesperson for the Department said, adding that construction of the $28 million zoo would provide 160 construction jobs and 59 full-time ongoing jobs.
"However, the community had legitimate concerns and the Department's recommended strict conditions to the Commission reflect these."
The Department considered feedback received from the community in its assessment, which included concerns about animal welfare and the loss of native bushland.
As a direct result of community consultation, Sydney Zoo amended its application, reducing the amount of vegetation that would be removed. Native vegetation would be planted throughout the park and losses would be mitigated by purchasing offset credits.
The Department's recommended conditions for the proposal include:
- Preparing a Community Engagement Plan to regularly consult and engage with the community and other stakeholders, including the nearby Featherdale Wildlife Park;
- Requiring Sydney Zoo to differentiate itself from the wildlife park by exhibiting Australian native animals alongside an Aboriginal Cultural Heritage experience;
- Preparing a Traffic Management Plan in consultation with the local council, Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) and Transport for NSW;
- Ensuring the highest standards of animal welfare are met; and
- Implementing an intensive water quality monitoring program.
The Department exhibited the proposal for nearly two months from December last year and received 45 public submissions, 10 submissions from other government agencies and one submission from Blacktown City Council.
"The Commission will now consider the Department's final assessment report and recommended conditions as well as the community submissions in order to make a final decision," the spokesperson said.