Council Approve Lodgement of DA

On Wednesday 13th September 2023 the Hornsby Shire Council voted to approve the following item:

On 14 June 2023, Council adopted the revised draft Westleigh Park Master Plan (MP) and draft Westleigh Park Plan of Management (PoM).
• Following adoption of the MP and PoM in June 2023, the immediate goal for Council’s Westleigh Park Redevelopment was to prepare a comprehensive and coordinated set of documents to submit with our Development Application.

  • The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and supporting documentation is now developed to a stage that will enable lodgement of a Development Application by the end of the calendar year.
  • The Development Application will seek assessment and determination from the appropriate planning authority for the entire scope of works identified in the adopted Master Plan over stages, with Stage 1 split further to accommodate the potential for differing delivery timeframes:
  • Stage 1a: Southern sports platform; mountain bike trails; carparks 3 & 4; Sefton Road extension – west section; and shared way to Ruddock Park.
  • Stage 1b: Sefton Road extension – North and east sections around Reservoir.
  • Stage 2: Centre and northern sports platforms, carparks 1 & 2; and Warrigal Drive upgrades.
  • Owners Consent is required to lodge a Development Application and given the public interest in the development of Westleigh Park this is sought via a formal resolution of Council.
  • Should Owners Consent be resolved, instruction will be given to Council’s consultant planner to submit the Development Application on Council’s behalf via the online NSW Planning Portal. Once lodged, the assessment process will commence and be publicly exhibited.

The item was passed with only 2 Greens (Tania Salitra and Monika Ball) voting to oppose.

Hornsby Shire Council now has the dubious honour of approving the unauthorised building of mountain bike trails through large areas of critically endangered Sydney Turpentine-Ironbark Forest and endangered Duffys Forest. This is very sad as the council in almost every other instance has sought to protect these precious areas.

This is a lost opportunity to alter the trajectory of another threatened ecological community. Political pressure has forced on the community a poor and ecologically ignorant decision.


Media Coverage

Hornsby Shire Council’s recent decision to proceed with their plans for Westleigh Park has generated some media articles.

ABC News

Synthetic turf fields ‘lack standards’, but no moratorium as chief scientist recommends more research

North Shore Times, Hornsby Advocate, Hills Shire Time

Forest vs mountain bike: Delayed park proposal sparks war of words

Hawkesbury Post

Synthetic Turf Warning Bells in Landmark Report


Hornsby Shire Council Decides

14 June 2023 Council voted 7 (6 libs + 1 Labor) to 3 (Greens) to approve the Master Plan and Plan of Management.

Thank you to everyone who spoke out for the environment, and called out this appalling development. The next step is for the development to go to the District Planning Panel.

Environmental Education News

Westleigh Park Must Be Saved

Such a beautiful video on this gorgeous forest that is on the threshold, will common sense prevail to save it?

Advocacy News

What an unfunny joke!

Hornsby Shire Council held their mandatory public meeting on Tues 4th April concerning the Draft Plan of Management for Westleigh Park. Many residents, community groups and concerned citizens attended.

It was very pleasing to hear the community raise the same concerns we have been raising for over a year now.

We also received the following email from a local which expresses more than we can the dismay felt regarding Council’s meeting.

“I attended last night’s meeting at Hornsby RSL. What an unfunny joke!

We were treated like kindergarten children.

We were allowed to ask one question at a time but not allowed to question the answers in reply.

(The resident felt) those answers (could be considered as being):

  • sometimes so brief and curt as to be disrespectful of the questioner
  • often waffling and vague
  • frequently only one response to a two part question.

This was no open and frank discussion. Ratepayers were effectively muzzled from expressing their opinion.

It was a “tick the box” exercise on the part of Council.

Imagine the irony when I saw the Council’s notices this morning on a thin border area of bush (we believe this is an area of the endangered Duffys Forest) near Westleigh.

So Council thinks it’s OK for Mountain Bikers to trail for miles through endangered bushland at the proposed Westleigh Park, but unacceptable to do the same on an area down the road because it  “damages the native plants and habitat for animals.”

What hypocrisy! What contradiction! What an admission! What double standards!

The notice goes on to say that “building trails or jumps is a fun and great way to spend time outdoors but just not here”.

How can Council say that when the trail builders don’t own the land, and in the case of Westleigh Park never had permission?”


Council Votes for Master Plan

Thank you to all of you who attended Wednesday’s Hornsby Shire Council meeting, particularly those of you that spoke and to the many more of you who watched online.

While the outcome to exhibit the Draft Master Plan for Westleigh Park as published was disappointing, it is by no means the end of the story. That was just the first skirmish in what will be a more protracted battle to protect the ecologically sensitive bushland at Westleigh Park and to preserve local residents’ amenity.

Save Westleigh Park will continue to fight for the bushland, the native fauna and for residents and there are many hurdles at which Council’s concepts can fall.

The next step in this battle for biodiversity is the Master Plan and Plan of Management will go on exhibition for one month for public submissions. This is when we all need to make a BIG noise and inundate Council with objecting submissions.

Save Westleigh Park will send you all a submission guide shortly to assist you with the most important points, together with links to the documents and who to send your submission to.

Again, thank you for your support to Save Westleigh Park. We will be here for the duration to support YOU in getting the best and fairest outcomes.


Westleigh Park Master Plan Ready

Council are about to put the Westleigh Park Master Plan on public exhibition. See the Council Business Papers.

There are still 7km of tracks through the the sensitive bushland and an unacceptable amount of tracks through the Critically Endangered Sydney Turpentine-Ironbark Forest and the Endangered Duffys Forest.  These tracks apart from 2 are not shared so only available to mountain bikers who are destroying the forest. Council will not release the fauna reports so that the public can see the fauna being disturbed by their illegal activity.


Regional Sporting Venue Coming to Westleigh

Council are bringing a regional sporting venue to Westleigh, when fully developed there will be three platforms with sporting fields for Football, AFL, Cricket, Rugby and an Athletics field.


Is Hornsby Shire Council Ignoring it’s Own Signage

The survival of the Sydney Turpentine-Ironbark Forest depends on all of us. Yet Hornsby Shire Council is not listening to its own advice.


What’s this all about?

Hornsby Shire Council purchased a block of land from Sydney Water in June 2016 to cater for the needs of the whole community. Very quickly their staff realised that there was a high diversity of species present (244) in the bushland part of the Westleigh site including five vegetation communities, two threatened ecological communities, 4 species of threatened flora, 11 species of native orchids and 50 species of birds observed on the site. Their internal reports detailed the conservation significance of the flora and fauna.