The Orange Airport industrial land proposal comes soon enough to highlight the difficulties ahead for a merged Blayney/Orange/Cabonne local government area.
But the difficulty is here now, whether the shires are merged or not.
Orange City Council (OCC) maintains that demand for industrial land in Orange itself is high and it is inevitable any expansion of the city would cut into agricultural land.
OCC has long complained about being “landlocked” by Cabonne & Blayney Shires. In its planning proposal OCC makes several observations:
“Proximity to both the airport and railway, as well as the planned improved road connection to the Mitchell Highway will facilitate further growth in the logistics sector.
The nearby village of Spring Hill can be expected to derive economic benefits with increased housing demand and is suitably zoned to allow for supporting services (such as catering to the workforce’s lunch breaks and incidental shopping) to be established and prosper. Rural residential development occurring in the neighbouring LGA will also benefit from accessible employment opportunities.
The proposal therefore provides both direct employment opportunities and will contribute towards diversifying the local and regional economy. It is considered that such benefits greatly outweigh any potential detriment arising from increased local traffic flows and noise generation.
The Planning Proposal will provide for additional industrial land, bringing with it associated employment opportunities. The presence of the airport is a constraint on various other forms of development but is of clear and direct benefit to various forms of industrial activity. This is consistent with the desire for a diversified economy and rational use of land.
While the subject land is presently used for agriculture, this would be equally true of any alternative site that may be available within the Local Government Area. Preserving agricultural lands needs to be balanced against the principle of ensuring adequate opportunities for industrial activities. As such, site selection criteria would logically involve minimising the impact upon agriculture while maximising the benefit to industry.
In this regard the subject land is already constrained by the presence and operations of the airport whereas other agricultural lands are not. Likewise, the airport, roads and railway present added benefits to industrial developments that are not available at other potential sites.
Consequently, the planning proposal is considered to be the best available option to satisfy the competing principles and objectives of the Sub-Regional strategy in a balanced manner.”
While it is fair enough for Blayney (or Cabonne) to urge use of their local industrial areas before developing new ones in Orange, OCC maintains that the demand is in or near Orange (i.e. not in Blayney) and is attempting to satisfy the demand from within its own boundaries.
Equally, while seeking close-by employment opportunities is desirable, there are many who would wish to preserve the rural and village composition of Blayney and Cabonne and let Orange house all that messy industrial stuff.
Interesting times ahead for merged or unmerged councils.