Gandangara Local Aboriginal Land Council has a vision to create a vibrant new bushland community in Sydney’s south.
Over the next fifteen to twenty years selected areas of the Heathcote Ridge site will be transformed – providing much needed housing, local jobs, community facilities, schools, ovals and transport upgrades.
At the same time 500 hectares of pristine bushland will be protected forever, providing ongoing public access to a magnificent conservation reserve even larger than the nearby Georges River National Park.
Threatened plant and animal species will thrive here and a range of native animals will use the wildlife corridor stretching through north, south and west of the site.
The illegal dumps of tyres, asbestos and car bodies outside the conservation reserve will be gone and replaced by a community in keeping with its natural setting – a village in the trees.
It will be sustainable. Water and energy conservation will be priorities and a dependable public transport system, bike paths and walking tracks will encourage residents from their cars.
A range of housing types and price points will be available, allowing first home buyers and retirees a chance to remain living near family and friends in the Shire.
Local children will attend Heathcote Ridge’s school during the week and play sport on the oval on the weekend. They will enjoy the playgrounds and discover nature on bushwalks through the conservation reserve.
Best practice housing design will ensure a high level of bushfire protection with 60 metre asset protection zones. A coordinated bushfire management strategy will be in place in consultation with the local Rural Fire Service brigade.
Many of the sixty two percent of workers who currently travel outside the LGA for work will find jobs in the Heathcote Ridge employment hub – significantly cutting commuting time for many Shire residents.
The hub will attract innovative, high tech, education and research based industries and help a range of businesses who want to grow.
Local roads will be upgraded and the much mooted transport link between Sutherland and Liverpool will cut more than seven kilometres off the round trip.
The project will raise funds to expand our existing programs in health, education, housing and employment that make real and lasting changes to the lives of Aboriginal people.
This is our vision for Heathcote Ridge.
Don’t underestimate our interest in making this project something Aboriginal people can be proud of. We are not your average developer. We have a long-term commitment to the site and will retain and manage the conservation reserve and employment lands into the future.
Ultimately we want to see Heathcote Ridge stand as testament to what Aboriginal people can deliver to the entire community.
First published in the St George & Sutherland Leader, 4th August.