Blue Mountains News
Consultation shows strong community support for update
Seventy per cent of respondents also supported the Canary Island date palms being replaced with an appropriate species, as part of an improved town centre.
More than 1,400 community members provided their feedback on the updated 2023 Blaxland Masterplan, during the six-week exhibition period.
Mayor, Cr Mark Greenhill said: “Close to a quarter of households in the 2774 postcode have responded to our survey and an overwhelming majority support the updated 2023 Blaxland Masterplan.
“Blaxland is a significant service centre for our city, and it is great to see so many members of our community engaging in this process and supporting the future revised vision.”
Consultation on the updated plan was conducted between 1 November and 13 December, with Blue Mountains residents invited to provide feedback on the update via email and online survey. Over 4,400 households and businesses located in the 2774 postcode were also provided with a returnable postcard that could be used to share feedback.
Following community consultation carried out since the Masterplan was adopted in 2018, the update proposes that only certain key sites within Blaxland Town Centre could go up to four storeys when clear public benefits, such as a central piazza, are delivered to the community.
“The consultation has demonstrated that there is strong local support for what I believe is a well-considered plan that will stimulate economic investment in the town centre and deliver much needed additional housing and community space for local residents,” Mayor Greenhill said.
Another key initiative in the updated Masterplan is the proposed future removal of the Canary Island date palms along the Great Western Highway, as part of wider public domain upgrades.
“The Masterplan recognises Blaxland’s role as a gateway for the Great Western Highway and the need for a more unified approach to landscaping across the town centre. Although the proposed future replacement of the date palms has generated a lot of commentary, it is clear from this consultation that there is actually strong support in the community for the eventual removal and replacement of these trees with a more appropriate species.”
The date palms were originally planted by the NSW Government in 2000, but Council staff have had to regularly remove rodent faeces from around the trees and the large fruit and fronds that the trees produce – are a danger to the community, as they fall. The date palms also have sharp spines on the leaf base which can cause painful injuries.
“Council will be able to sell the trees and make money on these – so there is no cost to the community in relation to the removal,” Mayor Greenhill said. “And it will be safer all round, after they are removed.”
A report detailing the community consultation and recommendations on adoption of the updated Blaxland Masterplan 2023, and the preparation of an associated Planning Proposal, will be delivered when Council meetings resume in 2024.
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