There are fears one of Campbelltown’s most recognised landmarks could disappear if plans for a proposed cemetery are approved on Thursday.
The Scenic Hills region of Varroville could soon house up to 136,000 headstones over a 113-hectare plot if a Catholic Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust (CMCT) proposal is passed by the Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP).
The JRPP has drawn criticism over its authority to make the decision as it prepares to become the Greater Sydney Commission.Cr George Briticevich (Labor) voiced concern in a recent interview with the Macarthur Advertiser.
“I don’t think it’s appropriate for a panel that’s soon to be defunct to make decisions (like this) because they won’t be accountable,” he said.
Labor and Liberal councillors have fallen silent ahead of the decision, following Campbelltown Council’s public rejection of the development in 2014. Of the three council members who were contacted for comment, Mayor Paul Hawker (Liberal), who voted against the proposal when it first went to Council, made it clear no one was going to comment ahead of the meeting.
“It wouldn’t be right for me to comment on the redevelopment,” Mr. Hawker said.
“I’ll be one of the members on the deciding body [JRPP]. Being this close to the decision … it’s a bit of a conflict of interest.”
Macquarie Fields MP Anoulack Chanthivong (Labor), who has actively protested the development alongside Campbelltown MP Greg Warren (Labor), maintained the loss of the Scenic Hills could devastate the community.
“The Scenic Hills are part of our local community’s environmental identity. Development and destruction will destroy that last piece of green space and their heritage value to our area,” Mr Chanthivong said.
“Good communities are built around the way they preserve the natural environment not how much concrete they can pour on top of it.”
The spokesman for CMCT was contacted but was unavailable for comment before the publication of this article.