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Here is CEN's submission in response to the exhibition of DA 1750/2022 which proposed a 24-storey tower at Kooindah Waters.

The Community Environment Network (CEN) wishes to submit its objection to this development application which represents an unsustainable and gross overdevelopment for its surrounds.

CEN is a 25-year-old, not-for-profit registered charitable organisation which works for Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD) and against threats to it. We wish to register our objection to this development on the grounds of its bulk and scale along with flood and water management risks. We believe the development application runs contrary to pressing needs to protect the Wyong River and Tuggerah Lakes catchment. Our other major concern is the prevalence of acid sulphate soil on the site and the environmental consequences of PASS.

Over-arching arguments for refusal

Whilst the Hunter and Central Coast Regional Planning Panel may be the consent authority for this $97 million project, we believe Central Coast Council should recommend its refusal. A 24-storey mixed-use building is inappropriate for the site and surrounds. It is completely out of character.

It is disingenuous for the proponent to suggest that the proposed development aligns to the Kooindah Waters Master Plan from 2002 and that it has the support of existing residents. This is clearly not the case.

The proposal for a new 24-storey mixed use building, comprising basement parking, restaurant, bar and conference centre, serviced apartments (97) and residential units (98) on the vacant part of the site on Lot 4 DP 270434 (Lot 4), is completely out of character for the proposed location.

This is a huge, Regionally Significant Development, which is also an Integrated DKooindah waters submission picevelopment in respect to the Water Management Act 2000 and has also been deemed to be a “traffic generating” development under the Transport and Infrastructure State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP). It is a grandiose building that would be more appropriate in Chatswood or Newcastle than on the river flat between Wyong and Tacoma.

Whilst CEN is aware that the Central Coast region is forecast to have the highest regional population growth to 2036 (29 per cent) outside of Metropolitan Sydney, we do not believe that excuses inappropriate overdevelopment. We also note that regional strategies and current zoning patterns “seek to locate development around existing transport corridors”. However, this proposed 24-storey ‘skyscraper’ would look completely out of place in the middle of Wyong Town Centre so a proposal to build it at Kooindah Waters beggars’ belief.

Surely if there is to be a ‘first’ of the bulk and scale proposed in this development, it would be far more appropriate if located in Wyong or Gosford. The proponent’s statement that “Lot 4 is a scarce housing resource for the Wyong community and utilising this site for an efficient high-rise residential development has a positive social impact” has no foundation in fact.

This $97 million development proposal appears to work against Direction 2 of the Central Coast Regional Plan which is to “Focus economic development in the Southern and Northern Growth Corridors…” and “…revitalise Wyong as a mixed-use centre servicing the northern part of the region with infill residential development in central locations.”

Whilst Kooindah Waters may make it into the Northern Corridor, if we are serious about creating liveable and sustainable communities on the Central Coast, then the residential community and golf resort at Kooindah Waters is not the place for a 24-storey mixed use development, which would be much more appropriate if located closer to Wyong train station to bolster residential stock in the town centre rather than choke local roads and place future residents and users of the facility to surrounding flood risks.

We wish to draw your attention to the development history of Kooindah Waters, which has also been highlighted in quite a few submissions made by community members in relation to this development.

The 2002 master plan, DA 2732/2002 was approved 18/06/2002 and permitted an 18-hole golf course, three-storey Resort building (existing Golf Club building), two three-storey buildings on either side of the club house (150 hotel rooms), health club, tennis courts and swimming pool. The master plan also gave consent for 252 two-storey dwellings on individual community title allotments, landscaping, car parking and bulk earthwork for construction of the golf course.

According to documents provided in support of the current application, DA 914/2013 was approved 19/2/2013 for a concept plan (Stage 1 on Lot 4) including conversion of existing resort accommodation to residential apartments. This consent was not commenced and has since lapsed.

DA 1092/2011 approved 14/6/2012 was for a golf driving range. This consent was not commenced and has since lapsed.

DA 3087/2004 approved 10/6/2005 provided for the resort club house, health and leisure facilities, associate parking and landscaping. This DA was commenced, and development has occurred.

“The Kooindah Waters Resort now comprises: a main 3-storey Golf Club building with basement parking and back-of-house, ground floor restaurant/bar and 20 hotel rooms on the first floor, a three-storey building with 44 serviced apartments (Building 1C), two-storey buildings containing 20 serviced apartments each (Buildings 2A and 2B) and the foyer and restaurant facilities in the main Club House building services Buildings 1C, 2A and 2B),” according to documents submitted in support of the current development application.

The proponent appears to have failed to provide documentary evidence that a 24-storey mixed use building was ever considered as part of the 2002 master plan.

The development application relies on out-of-date supporting reports and fails to consider the vulnerability of Wyong River, the Tuggerah Lakes system and our coastline. Climate change impacts are not considered. The existing Kooindah Waters site was built on a wetland. We have learned a great deal about the importance of wetlands, as filtration systems for our rivers, lakes and beaches, since 2002. CEN contends that if the 2002 Kooindah Waters master plan was put forward today it would be rejected on many grounds including the need to protect wetlands and improved riparian zone and coastal zone management. On this basis, although the proponent has justified their application on the basis of the superseded Wyong LEP and DCP, there are many grounds for rejecting this DA in its current form.

The objectives of the Coastal Management Act 2016 from a land use planning perspective, have not been considered in this development application despite the location’s proximity to the Wyong River and Tuggerah Lakes system. The proponent argues that the “site does not include coastal wetlands and littoral rainforests area, coastal vulnerability area or coastal use area.” However, part of the eastern portion of the site is within proximity of an adjoining coastal wetland at McDonagh Road. As such “development consent must not be granted to development on land identified as ‘proximity area for coastal wetlands’ or ‘proximity area for littoral rainforest’ on the Coastal Wetlands and Littoral Rainforests Area Map unless the consent authority is satisfied that the proposed development will not significantly impact on— (a) the biophysical, hydrological or ecological integrity of the adjacent coastal wetland or littoral rainforest, or (b) the quantity and quality of surface and ground water flows to and from the adjacent coastal wetland or littoral rainforest”. CEN does not believe the proponent has satisfactorily shown that the enormous development under consideration will not have a deleterious impact on adjoining coastal wetlands and, as such, the DA should be refused.

CEN also has concerns about site contamination. Parts of it have been used for drum storage, chemical storage and coal chitter. The site was certified as suitable for residential development and subsequent development applications did not appear to require additional remediation or even contamination investigations.

If this development is to be approved, CEN would urge the inclusion of strong conditions of consent surrounding the testing of excavated materials to manage contamination risk.

Kooindah Waters is one of only two anomalous sites with “additional permitted use” provisions under the former Wyong Shire Council’s LEP along with Magenta Shores at The Entrance North (another development not without controversy). According to the former Wyong LEP, on those two sites, “development for the purposes of residential accommodation is permitted with development consent if the consent authority is satisfied that tourist and visitor accommodation will remain the dominant use on the land as a whole.” The LEP went on to define residential accommodation as including residential flat buildings and shop top housing.

According to the proponent “In terms of the dominant use provisions of the LEP, the residential flat building component of the development comprises approximately 41% of site GFA...the dominant use of the site will remain for tourist and visitor accommodation and related purposes”. However, CEN is of the opinion that although the SP3 zone applies to the Kooindah Waters estate, this land’s current predominant use is residential not tourism. This may well explain the proponent’s desire to build an out-of-character tower building in the middle of a flood-prone riparian zone near a coastal wetland. Surely high-rise residential apartments do not belong on this site and a more conducive proposal should be called for to satisfy current land use provisions.

A better solution to ensure the appropriate mix of residential and tourist land uses at Kooindah Waters may be a scaled-down resort building with no further residential component. A mixed-use residential tower would be far more appropriate for the Wyong town centre.

Bulk and scale

The completed (new and existing) GFA on the site will be 27,729m² and the proposed mixed-use tower would have a maximum height of 24-storeys. It cannot be argued that the tower‘s physical impacts would be “well contained within the estate and appropriately promote the core zoning purpose of the site – tourist related development”.

Nor would such a development have “minimal physical impacts on the adjoining residents”. This appears to contradict the proponent’s description of the tower as being “designed as an iconic structure to be viewed in the round”.

The tower itself, we are told, is oriented to capture views and achieve a high level of solar access but very little is said about the loss of solar access it will inflict on surrounding residences and the golf course. The contention that the tower is set back from the podium and the street may be relevant in the context of a such a building in a location where it adjoins structures of similar bulk and scale, but it does not seem reasonable to argue that the “use of a podium/tower form achieves a desirable transition in bulk and scale from the lower scale areas of the site and its surrounds”. This tower will stand out like a sore thumb from many kilometres away. The statement that “views of the tower are limited by the surrounding topography and tree canopy” is difficult to verify. An examination of local maps would indicate the tower would be seen from a substantial radius and not limited to “within the master planned estate itself”.

The proposal does not comply with Clause 4.3 of the Central Coast Consolidated Local Environmental Plan. Its bulk and scale and height are not compatible with that of the existing locality. The height of the proposed new building does not protect the amenity of neighbouring properties and will detract from their privacy, solar access and views.

CEN disagrees with the SEPP 65 Design Verification Statement accompanying the development application. In response to Principle 1, Context and Neighbourhood Character, the consultant has claimed that the proposal satisfied the principle.

The proposal also provides a high-quality form of housing which is integrated within the resort setting and where future residents can enjoy the tourism amenities available. The proposed building form will provide for well-considered housing that captures the resort lifestyle sought by many.”

CEN does not believe the above description in any way addresses the true context of this proposed development. The suggestion that a 24-storey mixed use tower can be “stitched in to” and integrated with the existing low-density bungalow style accommodation at Kooindah has no credibility in relation to assessing this proposal against SEPP 65. In terms of the low-lying residential developments in nearby villages and suburbs, along with the nearby wetlands and bushland, it is even more difficult to legitimise this proposal.

Development limits

There is no height or floor space control for this site. CEN considers this a negative legacy from the previous Wyong Shire Council that the Central Coast Council has failed to address through its consolidated LEP and DCP. The Central Coast was promised a comprehensive LEP as one of the outcomes of the 2016 merger of the former Wyong and Gosford City Councils. This promise has been broken and we are consequently waving through developments that are completely inappropriate and represent substantial overdevelopment in what is primarily a bush and wetland area with a village character.

The absence of a Comprehensive LEP for the Central Coast, developed from intensive consultation with the community to set the desired character of our precincts, makes it untenable to approve such an out-of-character overdevelopment in this location.

As one submission for this DA stated: “This is not the Sydney/Parramatta CBD, but it’s again a further commercial interest that will fly in and fly out with no regard to the residents who have to live with it.”

The new Central Coast Consolidated DCP 2022 provides even more justification for refusing this proposal in its current form. Chapter 2.3 Residential Flat Buildings and Shop Top Housing includes the following Height Objectives:

  1. To ensure that buildings are compatible with the existing and desired future character of the locality
  2. To ensure that the height of buildings protects the amenity of neighbouring properties in terms of visual bulk, access to sunlight, privacy and views
  3. To ensure that building height is not visually obtrusive, is compatible with the scenic qualities of hillside and ridgetop locations and respects the site’s natural topography

The proposal is for shoptop housing, not a residential flat building for the residential component which appears at odds with the proponent’s argument that this proposal is primarily for tourism. This also means the proposal can ignore the DCP in relation to requirements for residential flat buildings. CEN does not accept that the “view analysis” in any way proves “that the proposed development does not have an adverse visual impact, is compatible with the scenic qualities of the area and shall protect the visual amenity of neighbouring properties”.

Flood risk and water management

The former Wyong Shire Council’s LEP indicated that the subject property was flood-affected. It is common knowledge that this area is subject to flooding from the Wyong River. Pollock Avenue has a history of flooding and is regularly cut to the north and south from Kooindah Waters. An unnamed creek at the south-eastern of the site is also a major source of flooding for the site.

CEN believes the proponent must submit a new flood assessment report given the amount of rainfall the region has experienced in the past three years. We learn that, at the time BG&E undertook its flood assessment, council flood models were not available for flood impact assessments. The proponent argues that modelling is “not required at this stage” which CEN does not consider a responsible or sustainable position.

The flood planning levels provided by Council’s engineer, based on the Wyong River Catchment Flood Study 2014, are also clearly out of date. Hence statements that the lowest habitable level at RL 6.40 (the ground floor) is well above the PMF level of RL 4.15 may need to be reconsidered.

The proponent informs us that this development could pose a risk to “the ecology of downstream waterways” and could exacerbate downstream flooding conditions. Their solution is to have on-site stormwater treatment controls. Whilst advocating that “best practice” stormwater management will apply on-site in line with Central Coast Council requirements, the proponent is relying on the site’s proximity to the nearby watercourse to manage stormwater and does not propose on-site detention. It is questionable that this approach will be adequate to manage stormwater, protect the health of downstream waterways and adequately manage downstream flood risk.

This is particularly the case considering that, based on limited testing, groundwater at the site is acidic to strongly acidic and has likely been affected by contact with present acidic soils present. Groundwater acidity may increase during construction due to the disturbance of the Potential Acid Sulphate Soil materials and treatment of the groundwater will be required during the works prior to offsite disposal or discharge. The idea that discharge will be considered as an option is disturbing and could inadvertently lead to the release of PASS into nearby waterways. CEN considers this an unacceptable risk.

CEN accepts the use of Stormwater Quality Improvement Devices (SQID’s) to treat the stormwater discharge and the use of rainwater tanks with reuse and filter cartridges as minimal stormwater management strategies on such a flood-prone site.

According to the proponent, basement levels will need to be “suitably designed to resist flood intrusion”. That is because a Geotechnical Investigation Report dated 30 August 2018 indicates that ground water was encountered at 3.2 and 4m in all boreholes. As such the basement car park of the proposed building will encounter ground water and require dewatering. CEN would argue that, due to more recent rainfall patterns in our region, the 2018 report should be updated before this proposal is assessed by Council staff and any recommendations made to the Planning Panel.

Reports submitted in support of the proposal indicate that it will require an approval under the Water Management Act 2000 and as such CEN would anticipate state agencies will expect more up-to-date ground water analysis when considering the DA.

De-watering will be required to enable construction and on an ongoing basis as the excavation levels “are expected to extend beyond the groundwater level”. According to documents submitted in support of the proposal, “the extent of the dewatering would vary depending on the shoring strategy selected”.

“Due the shallow groundwater table and likely groundwater inflow through the base of the excavation, dewatering will be required. Where dewatering is required, discussions will need to be had with CCC and relevant landowners about what is done with the excess water.”

The necessity of dewatering to make the basement parking useable and safe (even at 2018 levels) means ground water will need to be stored, tested and treated on site before it will be released or removed from the site. Each step has a considerable environmental risk, particularly considering the presence of acid sulphate soil and possible contamination at Kooindah Waters.

“It must be appreciated that continuous dewatering of the basement area would have an impact on the local hydrogeology and could potentially result in lowering the ground water table. This should be considered in the shoring wall design and construction methodology as it can result in ground settlement and potential damage to the neighbouring structures.” This note of caution from documents submitted with the DA is another reason for recommending refusal of this proposal in its current form.

The following statement: “The proposed building has a relatively small building footprint and will incorporate contemporary stormwater and detention infrastructure, designed with suitable levels and standards to deal with flood risk” grossly underplays the impacts on groundwater and stormwater for a 24-storey tower in a flood-prone wetland and cannot be taken seriously.


CEN accepts that the site of the building works does not currently include coastal wetlands, or littoral rainforests area, according to the proponent. Speak to any Wyong old-timer, however, and they will tell you Kooindah Waters was built on reclaimed wetland.

CEN contends the land within the development site is a filled wetland and flood storage area. As such CEN advocates that this location is environmentally sensitive. We support the following statement included in a public submission: “There must be serious doubt about the sub-surface capabilities of the reclaimed wetlands base that the estate sits on as capable of providing the appropriate safe footing as support for any rise of a building more than the current height allowed for 2 storey existing buildings on the estate and NO current report on this issue has been supplied”.

The proposal to build a construction traffic access to the proposed building site from Warner Avenue ignores the fact that it would have to cross a nearby wetland. Whilst the development is not located on a SEPP 14 wetland, CEN has considerable concerns about its impact on a nearby wetland, particularly given the high prevalence of acid sulphate soil at the development site. CEN notes the following statement from a resident’s submission and looks forward to Council’s assessment of this situation in its recommendation to the Planning Panel: “Storm water flowing from the site enters the SEPP14 wetlands in McDonagh Road before flowing via drains to the Wyong River.  This heavily acidic water then causes severe flocking to occur in the river.  The issue has been raised on several occasions.   Council and its Environment Section have extensive information on the subject which was investigated at the time by Dr Danny Robert and other Council officers”.

Existing Kooindah estate residents have also noted that their sewer is a pressure system (each residence has its own pump) which is flat out with its current volumes let alone what has been proposed”. “To add 100 permanent dwellings and 100 hotel rooms will add approx one third load to the sewer system…There is not one mention in any document on the effect this development will have on the sewer system and how the sewer from the tower will be transported to the town services. Currently the sewer is transported by pipeline and powered by each homes individual pump. To add load to these pumps is unacceptable and dangerous.” CEN supports this statement and believes the proponent should provide more information on sewer management before the DA is considered by the Planning Panel.

Acid sulphate soil

The site is situated within a high probability area for acid sulphate soils, with a depth to acid sulfate soil material within 1 metre of the ground surface. Soil volumes greater than 1000 tonnes are expected to be disturbed by this proposal and the tested samples were “predominantly acidic, with indications of potential Acid Sulfate Soils (PASS)”. The PASS materials will require treatment during the works. In fact, it is recommended that “all alluvial materials disturbed at the site be treated as acid sulfate soils”.

This statement: “The proposed piling excavations will likely mix the underlying residual materials with PASS materials, and management is recommended on the basis that the materials cannot be adequately separated,” imputes that the proposed development will require substantial on-site treatment of variable alluvial materials and underlying residual clays, in addition to groundwater extracted during the works.

CEN agrees with the statement that “treatment of the soils will be problematic as the availability of sufficient area to allow treatment of excavated soil would be reduced. Options for consideration would include treatment of the soil in situ prior to excavation on a “layer by layer” basis or obtaining approval from the EPA for offsite treatment of the excavated material. If an area in close proximity to the site was available, this would allow stockpiling and treatment of acid sulfate soils prior to offsite disposal as general solid waste to a licensed facility.” CEN does not believe this is an environmentally responsible approach given the proximity of this development to the Wyong River and Tuggerah Lakes.

Basement excavations will penetrate the PASS alluvial profile so excavation walls and bases will also need to be treated.

CEN is concerned that the proponent intends to stockpile excavated materials “in a suitably bunded area with an impermeable base” in a location “selected to minimise impact on surrounding environment”. Again, CEN considers the potential runoff from stockpile areas into nearby waterways to be a significant environmental risk. Lime volumes required for treatment of stockpiled materials would be substantial and also present an environmental risk.

Confirmatory testing of groundwater must be completed prior to this development application being endorsed by Council or accepted by the Planning Panel. CEN does not support that confirmatory testing can be conducted during construction.


CEN is aware of other potential problems associated with this DA including the inadequacy of the local road network to cope with increased traffic volumes. We are aware of the concerns of the existing residents of the Kooindah Waters estate who do not support the 24-storey building. However, CEN has focused, in this submission, on issues of environmental significance. We conclude that this DA does not align with the principles of Ecologically Sustainable Development. The site is flood prone, reliant on waterways to manage storm water and ground water and we believe this development poses a substantial downstream risk to the Wyong River and Tuggerah Lakes system. As such we wish to register our objection to the DA.

Contact details

CALL 02 4349 4756

PO Box 149 Ourimbah NSW 2258

FM Building, Central Coast Campus,
University of Newcastle,
Loop Road, Ourimbah,
NSW, 2258


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