SUTHERLAND Shire mayor Carol Provan conceded the Cronulla Sharks and Kirrawee brick pit developments would likely go ahead after the Department of Planning and Infrastructure recommended approval this week.
Councillor Provan said she would ‘‘keep my fingers crossed’’, but held out little hope the Planning Assessment Commission would reject the department’s view and support the council’s objections.
Ben Fairfax, of Bluestone Property Solutions, the Sharks’ development partner, said he was very pleased with the department’s decision ‘‘but we still have a lot of hard work to do to secure the commission’s approval’’.
A spokeswoman for the commission rejected any suggestion of decisions being a foregone conclusion and said there had been a number of previous cases where the department’s recommendation was not accepted.
She said public meetings would be held within three weeks to give residents their say and talks would be held with the council and proponents. Decisions will follow in ‘‘two weeks to two months’’, depending if more information was needed.
Commission head Gabrielle Kibble will sit on the panel that will determine the $300 million Sharks proposal.
Ms Kibble has extensive public sector experience and headed the Department of Planning and Urban Affairs for 10 years until 1997.
She will be joined by architect Richard Thorp and former Labor minister Garry West, who will act as chairman.
A separate panel to consider the $238 Kirrawee project had not been named yesterday afternoon.
A Department of Planning and Infrastructure spokeswoman said the timing of its recommendations on consecutive days this week was ‘‘just coincidence, as the assessment process for both projects was completed around the same time’’.
Miranda MP Graham Annesley supported the assessment process for the brick pit project in his electorate.
He said he opposed any inappropriate development, particularly if it took place ‘‘behind closed doors’’ under Part 3A of planning laws.
But he said the application, which continued under the now scrapped Part 3A system but without the Planning Minister’s involvement, had been through a very public process.
‘‘Regardless of the outcome, I don’t believe the process could be any fairer or more transparent,’’ he said.