Is a Hindu temple appropriate for Pitt Town?

A number of residents have approached me about a development application which was lodged in late November for the construction of a $6.4M temple complex at 95 Old Pitt Town Road, Pitt Town.

The image below should provide some context: In the upper left is the Pitt Town cemetery and in the lower right is Pitt Town Sports Club.

The application as submitted to Hawkesbury council requests permission to

Council’s DA Tracker website has the details (use DA0513/19 or the address as the reference). The application has been initiated by a group called Sri Mandir who are based at Auburn. They appear to be a different entity to the organisation who successfully sought permission to build a Hindu temple at Beddek St in McGraths Hill in October 2016. That group is called Sri Siva Jyothi Temple, who are based at Wentworthville.

With respect to the 2016 DA, this occurred during the time when Council was the consent authority. On that occasion I voted against approval, and the public remarks I made as to why are on the public record.

The Hawkesbury Social Atlas shows that at the time of the 2016 Census, the Hindu population of the Hawkesbury was 0.2% (130 individuals), vs 3.5% in the Greater Sydney area.

It would appear that the D.A is for a very ostentatious structure, being multi story and with 67 car parking spaces. The structures are “forward” on the subject block, and close to the road.

The residents who have approached me have expressed a range of concerns about the appropriateness of this development for this site, citing traffic, scale, noise, fire hazard and the effect on amenity. The development sits quite close to Scheyville National Park, as detailed in the Bushfire Assessment Report.

Under changes to NSW Planning, Hawkesbury City Councillors no longer vote on DA’s before our Council. These planning powers were removed from many NSW Councils and given to unelected, unaccountable “Planning Panels”. I and many other Councillors (Liberal and non Liberal alike) are opposed to this diminution of democracy in our planning laws.

Planning Panels may empanel people with eminent subject expertise in planning matters, but in our democracy, the expertise of public servants must be balanced with democratic accountability to the community.

If a Planning Panel makes an unpopular decision, frequently they have no “skin in the game”– they can’t be voted out by the public, and in some (not all) cases, don’t even live in the communities they are affecting by their decisions.

Details about the Hawkesbury Local Planning Panel are at Council’s website.

Hawkesbury Council has at least some part to play however. They act to receive and process paperwork related to DA’s, and before the Planning Panel meets, will write a staff report either listing the consent conditions that should be applied, or alternatively, recommending refusal and citing the ways in which the DA would be inappropriate in that zone or at that site.

Residents have also expressed concern that the exhibition period, occurring over Christmas, and during a time of significant duress within the community with bushfires, has not afforded people enough time to digest and respond to the proposal. There is also a report (unverified by me) that not all the documentation currently on the DA tracker was made available in a timely fashion.

I think a public meeting should be held so that residents can receive information and understand the implications of this proposal.

As was the case with the McGraths Hill proposal (which curiously has not broken ground on their land since consent was granted in October 2016), I will be happy to support local residents as they seek representation to the Planning Panel, which will meet later this year (date unknown) to consider it.

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8 thoughts on “Is a Hindu temple appropriate for Pitt Town?

  1. I do not believe the Hawkesbury infrastructure is suitable for a temple of any faith this size. We do not have a large Hindu population to even consider this. Our road are far from suitable for that type of use. I do not believe this has been made public knowledge and has been considered under underhandedly! I am totally against this and believe it should be stopped.

  2. Absolutely not, our roads and infrastructure is already struggling with the amount of traffic from the new development areas within Pitt town itself, aside from the fact i live not 5km away and this is the first I’ve heard about it, definitely well hidden from public knowledge

  3. Totally against any type of this development in Pitt Town. We
    Must ask why this structure is not
    Being built in an area where the Hindu population reside??. The existing roads are already struggling with the current population in the new developments.

  4. I am totally opposed to a Hindu temple or any temple of any faith being constructed in rural Pitt Town. This is such a beautiful peaceful area and this DA would see major traffic problems on a narrow winding country road that has no kerb or guttering.

    The structure is not in keeping with the natural rural bush environment we live in and it would not serve any purpose to our local residents.

    There must be an underlining monetary reason for these structures to be built in outer Sydney regions. There has already been a temple approved in nearby McGraths Hill so just why do we need another one?

  5. Totally opposed to this kind of structure being built for any faith in rural historic Pitt Town! It does not fit in with the ambience of the rural country side.
    Why are they not building it in their area of Auburn where they reside? Why was it not made public? Is there graft going on here in the Hawkesbury?

    Our roads are not fit for the local traffic, let alone bringing in this amount of traffic from the other side of Sydney. We have narrow winding roads, no kerb and guttering and many of our local horse riders ride on these roads. Can you imagine the catastrophe for horse riders with this much traffic and people not understanding how horses react to these situations. (And no I do not ride, so this is not personal)
    The council has already pushed a temple on us in McGraths Hill, in a most ridiculous place, was this to set a precedent? So this could be slipped in?
    We need to the Hawkesbury the beautiful rural area, that is is.
    We do not have a large Hindu population, but I would be against this no matter what faith.
    Wake up council!! Look after your locals.

  6. I lived for forty years on OPTR (Old Pitt Town Rd) and I am a stones throw from this proposal. Yet there has not been a peep from Council to residents likely to be affected.

    Over the years since inappropriate development in Pitt Town, the OPTR has become a race track. A narrow, twisting very poor surfaced carriageway. In today’s hurried world, the number of crashes, serious incidents and dangerous driving has multiplied out of proportion.

    Add to this, the use by trucks, that never keep to their side of the road due to its narrowness and their “I’m too big to worry about you” attitude, if this proposal gets up, you can expect up to 67 cars coming from “Auburn” to this proposed facility and you have a further recipe for disaster.

    As has been expressed by others, there is no infrastructure or services and not likely to be, we have been waiting since 1931 for a bypass of Pitt Town. You are very lucky to get a signal for your mobile, the phone land lines are already overcrowded and internet services are atrocious, no NBN, no water, no sewerage, within 50 metres of a major bush fire zone.

    Why on earth do we need two temple for people who live close to 50Km from the district, why cannot with $6 million plus can they not build in Auburn., or why cant they share the one proposed for McGrath Hill, I am sure $6m would get it built.

    This proposal has no merit, it is poorly planned, a totally unsuitable use of diminishing rural land, visually it would be an eyesore and inappropriate for the district and a further strain on facilities. In conclusion it is not in the public interest to disfigure a rural community with such a proposal.

    N.B. Why has there not been a public meeting for something so contentious and why was the exhibition of such a short period, definitely a failure of our Councillors and Council Officers.

  7. ANIL PRAJAPATI 6848258
    Yogesh Solanki 6848280
    Dilip Bajaj 6848269
    Just going through some of the “supporters” and already found 3 with exactly the same letter! No address for any of them??
    How many more do you think I could find??
    Dies anyone actually check up on these?? If so they are not doing a very good job!
    Submissions from outside the Hawkesbury should not be even considered as they have no idea of the impact it will cause

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