The Illawarra is a region with traditionally high unemployment. The economic future of the region lies in sustainable development that sets up long term employment opportunities. Stockland's claim of its development creating over 300 (short-term) jobs will do very little to benefit Wollongong residents or to reduce unemployment rates in the future. The vast majority of contractors in this development come from outside the region. Contractors already involved at Sandon Point are from Sydney, Camden, Penrith, Canberra and Melbourne- anywhere but Wollongong.

The proposed new suburb would effectively become a dormitory for Sydney workers due to a lack of jobs in the Illawarra. The South Coast rail line is already under extreme stress and would not be able to cope with such an influx of commuters. Many houses in Stages 1-6 would be multi-million-dollar properties with the incomes to afford them only available in Sydney. As such, economic flow-on benefits from the increased population would be restricted. New residents would most likely purchase clothing, household items, and other services in Sydney where choice and familiarity is greater.

The Sandon Point site is part of the last remaining green link between the ocean and the escarpment. It is the last remaining coastal open space in the northern Illawarra. Its wetlands are the home of numerous threatened species, including internationally protected migratory birds. Three ballooning population regions to the north, west and south will link up in the coming years to encircle this area. Given this proximity, one option that warrants very serious consideration is to preserve the area and incorporate it into a regional park. Sandon Point could become the focal point of a string of existing coastal parklands linked by a cycle/ walking track stretching from Thirroul to Kiama. This proposal meets all the criteria for a NPWS Regional Park. Jobs would be created by the increased tourist access to the Illawarra from Thirroul to Kiama. Recreational facilities such as bike, roller blade and boat hire shops, food kiosks, restaurants, accommodation, entertainment venues and cultural centres would provide long-term local employment. The scenic beauty of the environmentally restored park would provide open space and recreation for the people of the Illawarra, Sydney and Campbelltown, as well as attracting interstate and international visitors to its highlighted wealth of ancient and modern history and culture.

Why would people want to visit an area that looks just like a Sydney suburb? Stockland's suburb would offer very little to the region- but it would squander a unique opportunity to boost the Illawarra's tourism potential. A Regional Park provides a vision for the future of the Illawarra, rather than a short-term money-making venture from which only Stockland employees and their shareholders would benefit. The investment by the NSW Government (and/or others) in land purchase and set-up costs would be an investment in sustainable development in the Illawarra.

The permanent loss of environment and heritage is a massive cost which is difficult to quantify. Once it is gone, it is gone forever. You could only tell your children what it used to be like here.


return to The Sandon Point contents