VETERAN Sutherland Shire Councillor Kevin Schreiber is concerned about the long-term ramifications of the closure of the Caltex oil refinery at Kurnell.
He said, apart from immediate, devastating job losses, Sutherland Shire could be impacted in other ways, including the peninsula being used for more air traffic or an expansion in housing without matching infrastructure.
There could also be more environmental damage to Botany Bay through the need to dredge for super tankers.
Airservices, the government corporation which manages traffic into and out of Sydney Airport, downplayed the possibility of more flights over the peninsula.
"There are no specific procedures that relate to the Kurnell oil refinery," a spokeswoman said.
"Therefore, the closure of the refinery is not expected to have any impact for traffic."
Caltex announced the refinery would cease operating in 2014, by which time the site would be converted to an import terminal.
The transformation would cost $680 million, with 330 jobs to be cut and a loss of work for many of the 300 contractors who service the site.
Caltex said it would spend $260 million remediating the site and $250 million on converting it to an import terminal.
Councillor Schreiber, who is the council's representative on the Sydney Airport Community Forum, said there had been a gradual rise in aircraft movements and noise over Bundeena, Cronulla and Kurnell, and he feared the refinery closure would pave the way for more.
"You would imagine that if they no longer have to avoid flying right over the refinery, they would think about a wider flight path," he said.
"We could also see a push to open up more land on the peninsula for housing, for which we don't have the roads or other infrastructure.
"My other concern is they will need to dredge the bay to bring in imported fuel in super tankers, causing further damage to seagrasses and fish habitats.
"I think Caltex and the federal and state governments will have to come back to the community with more detailed plans for what is going to happen there."
Tom Breen, chairman of Breen Property, whose family has been involved in sand mining on the peninsula for 60 years, said he couldn't forsee any change in the industrial nature of the peninsula in the short or medium term.
"It would be a difficult site to remediate, but not impossible," he said.
"While it is used as a storage facility, I imagine it will stay pretty much as it is.
"Certainly the plume will no longer be there, which will make things slightly cleaner from an environmental point of view.
"I don't know that there will be fewer vehicles on the roads."
Cronulla MP Mark Speakman said he was focused on helping Caltex employees and small business operators during the transition period.
"In the long term, who knows what it will mean to the industrialisation of the peninsula," he said
The Maritime Union of Australia warned the refinery closure could have ramifications for shipping jobs.
At present, Caltex used Australian-crewed tankers to ship refined product in Australian coastal trade, national secretary Paddy Crumlin said.
"These jobs could be lost if the company chooses to use Flag-of-Convenience shipping to carry refined product into Australia from overseas."
What effects do you foresee from the refinery closure?