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					CHAPTER 1: URBAN CAPACITY

Urban Lands
he Fairfield LGA covers an area of 104 square kilometres and 27 suburbs. It contains large-scale regional industrial estates at Wetherill Park and Smithfield as well as local industrial centres, making up eight industrial districts of over 786 hectares. There are three major business and retail Prairie centres at Fairfield, Cabramatta and Prairiewood. These are supported by a number of suburban shopping centres. There are 580 parks including part of the Western Sydney Regional Parkland.

Open Spaces Open space such as parks, bushland, picnic and walking areas are important for people’s health and well-being. They make Fairfield City a more attractive and healthy place to live and visit. It is important to ensure that people living in existing and new housing areas have access to open space which meets their needs. Permeable Surfaces When natural areas are developed for housing or business, absorption of rain is reduced with the laying of impermeable surfaces such as concrete and tiles. This increases runoff and the risk of flooding. It is important to ensure that sufficient permeable surfaces are retained amongst built up areas to reduce flooding and excess runoff. Work was completed this year to analyse the ratio of permeable to impermeable surface areas in the City. This will help Council respond to the increasing coverage of impermeable surface treatments and the increasing rapid runoff to the creeks. Agricultural Land The agriculture industry in Fairfield LGA is relatively small. There are though some identifiable local products which are being distributed through major retail outlets such as cut flowers, poultry, vegetables and fruit. The Fairfield LGA is one of the few areas with parcels of flood-free agricultural land within the Sydney Region. However, this land is facing development pressures which are compounded by the opening of the Western Sydney Orbital and the State Government plans for ‘Employment Lands’. It is important that valuable agricultural land in Fairfield City is protected. Council’s geographic information system contains information regarding the availability of agricultural land and whether development approval has resulted in its loss. Flooding The Fairfield LGA includes a floodplain with extensive residential and industrial areas. The drainage infrastructure in Fairfield City was not designed to meet current demands and more impervious surfaces caused by

Rural Lands
In the Fairfield LGA, 1,770.63 hectares n of land (17.4 percent) is non-urban. Large expanses of rural land characterise the suburbs of Horsley Park and Cecil Park. The major land uses in the area are a mix of rural residential housing and small-scale agriculture, in addition to some extractive industry and open space. The area is part of the Hawkesbury Nepean River Catchment. Under SREP 31, 1,488.94 hectares of land is zoned for non-urban development. This contributes to the area of recreational land zoned within the LGA. Planning and management issues in the rural areas of Fairfield City are extremely broad and complex. Strategies, planning and directions emerging from the State Government’s Metropolitan Strategy, M7 Land Use Study and Future West will have a bearing in shaping the future of the rural areas of Fairfield City.

Pressure
Urban Capability The population growth being experienced across Sydney is placing pressure on Fairfield City to develop more housing and industry and is likely to increase since the opening of the Western Sydney Orbital. Development is driving a reduction in average block sizes and an increase in housing densities.

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development of the catchment increases the risk of flooding in these areas. Flooding not only poses a risk to personal safety, it can also cause extensive damage to residential and business properties. Noise People at home or at work should not be adversely affected by noise. This is particularly important in areas designated for residential use. Controls are required to balance residential needs with associated development including transport. These controls involve reduction at the source of the noise, improved construction techniques and barriers. In some locations such as major roads, retro fitting may be required to maintain or reduce the impacts of noise. Air Quality Air quality will have a significant impact on ecological health as well as human health. ‘Good air’ is essential for respiration, as well as the good health and wellbeing of human and animal life. The quality of the air in the Fairfield LGA is impacted upon by surrounding land uses. Industry, transport, bush fires, wood heaters, as well as the generation and use of electricity, all play a part in reducing the quality of the air both locally and regionally. Air pollution, especially exposure to particulate matter, can lead to increases in cardiovascular degeneration and other health-related issues. Particulate matter is the small airborne particles released through vehicle emissions, farming practices, construction, demolition, industrial processes, wood burning and many other processes. Western Sydney’s increasing development and geographic distribution of its growing population places considerable demands on the transport system and contributes to intensive car usage, resulting in increased vehicle emissions. The community has displayed its concern over air pollution matters, especially burning-related issues such as backyard burning and smoke during the reporting period, through the DECC Pollution Line and Council’s complaints system.

State
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Indicator 1 - Population and growth rates of the Fairfield LGA Table 2: Population in Fairfield LGA
Year 1986 1991 1996 2001 2005 2006 2007 Population 153,522 175,152 181,785 181,936 187,790 186, 414 187,362

This indicator describes the change in population levels and can be used to anticipate the demand for housing, services, products and amenity in the Fairfield LGA. As shown in the Table 2, population increased in 2007 compared to 2006. The population growth rate in Fairfield LGA was 0.5 percent over this period. This is relatively slight growth in comparison to the NSW rate of 1.1 percent during the same period and significantly less than some neighbouring LGAs such as Liverpool (1.4 percent) and Holroyd (2.2 percent).
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Indicator 2 - Number of Development Applications and Construction Certificates assessed by Council per year
2000 2007-2008 2006-2007 2005-2006 1500

This indicator is used to monitor the pressure placed on land as a result of development. Development has a number of links to and subsequent impacts on land, such as: Soil erosion and sedimentation of waterways during the construction phase as well as pressures on air quality and a potential increase in background noise levels, soil contamination and water pollution. Impacts on water hydrology due to increasing coverage of impermeable surfaces (concrete, bitumen). Council assesses development applications to ensure that environmental impacts are addressed. Figure 1 indicates that during the 2007-08 reporting period there was a decline in the total number of Development Applications (DAs) received and assessed. The data relates to the number of applications and no qualitative analysis is possible. There was also a decline in the Construction Certificates (CCs) assessed but a slight increase in those received. This general trend could be representative of a decline in the building industry or economic constraints in terms of development.

1000

500

0 DAs DAs CC CC received assessed received assessed

Figure 1: Number of development applications and construction certificates assessed by Council per year

Fairfield City Council • State of the Environment Report 2007–2008

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CHAPTER 1: URBAN CAPACITY

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Indicator 3 - Number of contaminated sites assessed by the Environmental Management Branch

Land contamination is often an indication of past unsustainable land practices. Council’s Environmental Management Branch assesses Development Applications in relation to contaminated land. The process of assessing DAs with associated contaminated land issues is one that flows through four stages of reporting. These stages are a preliminary investigation, a detailed investigation, a site remedial action plan and a validation and monitoring report. As shown in Table 3, the number of contaminated sites assessed dropped from 51 in 2006-07 to 46 during the 2007-08 reporting period.
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As shown in Table 4, the South Western Sydney Region has improved by decreasing the number of days with a High RPI. Additional information can be found at the NSW DECC website www.environment.nsw. gov.au/airqual Table 4: Number of Mornings/Afternoons with a High Regional Pollution Index (RPI) in the South Western Sydney Region
2006 - 2007 34 2007-08 29

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Indicator 5 – Air pollution complaints to Council

Indicator 4 - Occurrence of a High Regional Air Pollution Index

The Regional Pollution Index (RPI) is measured twice daily by the DECC. The morning index reports on air pollution levels for the period 3pm (the previous day) to 6am: the afternoon index on the period 6am to 3pm. A low pollution index is 0 to 24; medium pollution index is 25 to 49; a high pollution index is 50 or more. A high RPI corresponds to pollution levels that have reached or exceeded the National Environment Protection Measure (NEPM) standard levels or the visibility goal. Indices are produced for three regions in Sydney (Eastern Sydney, South Western Sydney and North Western Sydney), three sites in the lower Hunter (Newcastle City, Beresfield and Wallsend) and two sites in the Illawarra (Wollongong and Albion Park). The Fairfield LGA is located within the South Western Sydney Region.

The community can make complaints to Council or the DECC regarding air pollution. Typically, complaints are made when conditions are causing a nuisance, health concerns or a reduction in the quality of life or property. Table 5: Air pollution complaints received by Fairfield City Council
Type of air pollution complaint Odour Burning-related issues Dust Chemicals Total 2006-07 35 58 22 20 135 2007-08 41 53 13 21 128

Table 5 indicates that the total number of air pollution-related complaints received by Council totalled 128 in 2007-08. Overall, there was a decrease of seven air pollution complaints when compared to the 20062007 figures.

Table 3: Number of contaminated sites assessed by the Environment and Health Branch
DA Type Number Assessed 2006-07 Number Assessed 2007-08 Site History Review 3 2 Contamination Report 34 35 Remedial Action Plan 1 7 Validation Report 13 2 TOTAL 51 46

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As shown in Table 6, Council received a total of 272 noise complaints in 2007-08 compared with 250 in 2006-07. Barking dog complaints remain the main source of noise complaints up 32 from 2006-07. Air conditioning complaints decreased and may be attributed to the requirement for Development Applications (DAs) to be lodged and approved by Council prior to the installation of air conditioning units. Complaints related to alarms, music and motor vehicles also decreased. Complaints related to people, machinery and building works increased slightly when compared to the previous reporting period.

Response
Ecologically sustainable development (ESD) is based on more sustainable urban development practices. It introduces greater urgency into the need to consider planning concerns such as density, commercial centres planning and public transport provision. It seeks to promote improved air and water quality, protect natural systems, minimum use of scarce resources, encourage recycling and re-use, and introduce energy-efficient transport systems and urban forms. Planning Water Sensitive Urban Design Strategy A draft Water Sensitive Design Strategy was completed this year. The Strategy has been

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Indicator 6 – Noise complaints to Council

Table 6: Noise complaints received by Fairfield City Council
Source of Noise Air Conditioning Alarm Building Works Fireworks Motor Vehicle Music Machinery People Pool Pump Barking Dogs Total 2006 – 2007 9 14 5 0 14 33 15 21 0 139 250 2007-08 6 3 8 0 8 26 21 28 0 171 272

used as the guiding document to incorporate unique Water Sensitive Urban Design initiatives into Council’s works. It is expected that similar requirements will be needed to be incorporated in the review of the Local Environmental Plan during 2008/09. Conduct a Rural Lands Study (which incorporates Horsley Village retail commercial area), identify and commence implementation of changes to planning controls During 2006-2007, Council commenced consultation with the community of the rural area and State Government agencies. The community consultation included two information days and a survey of residents and landowners about planning and environmental issues relevant to the area. In March 2007, the State Government announced it would be commencing work
Left Installation of artwork in Adams Park

Far left A day of community consultation on parks improvements.

Fairfield City Council • State of the Environment Report 2007–2008

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CHAPTER 1: URBAN CAPACITY

on the Western Sydney Employment Lands Investigation Area (WSELIA) into potential new employments in Penrith Council directly west of the Fairfield Rural Area. These investigations have significant potential to influence directions for the rural area and, as a result, Council deferred further work on the rural lands study until such time as State Government findings and recommendations for employment lands in the area become available. At the time of reporting, Council was still awaiting the findings and recommendations WSEL of the WSELIA. Commence a review of the Fairfield Local Environmental Plan 1994 in line with strategic land use plans, community consultations and changes to State Government planning legislation Studies completed during the period included the Employment Lands Study and draft Biodiversity Strategy. Scoping on the review of the Fairfield Residential Strategy also commenced. As noted previously, work on the rural lands strategy has been placed on hold as a result of the State Government Western Sydney Employment Lands Investigation Area adjoining the rural areas of the City. . The findings of these strategies will also feed into the review of DCP issues. Detailed work on conversion of the existing provisions of the current Fairfield LEP 94 to the new format and content of the NSW Standard LEP Order, also commenced in consultation with the Regional office of the Department of Planning. Open Space Chipping Norton Lakes Recreation Area During 2007-08, the Chipping Norton Lakes Authority effectively completed works on the Lakes Scheme including substantial environmental rehabilitation at the eastern end of the area. The NSW Government vested the final section of the Chipping Norton Lakes Recreation Area into Council’s care and control. This will result in a major new recreational area becoming available to residents and visitors to the City. Council has allocated $200,000 for future maintenance of the site.

CASE STUDY
Bus Review for part of Fairfield LGA (Contract Region 3) The State Government has been implementing the recommendations of what is known as the ‘Unsworth Review of Bus Services in New South Wales’ since its publication in 2004. As part of the process, Sydney was divided into 15 contract areas with the Fairfield LGA covered by: • Contract Area 13 (which primarily covers all parts of the Fairfield LGA located to the east of the rail line). Reports were submitted to Council on this matter on 6 December 2005 and 10 October 2006. The reviewed bus routes and services are already in operation. • New Contract Area 3 (covering the remainder of the LGA) will be operated by a consortium of buses known as “Area 3 Management Company” comprising Westbus, Hopkinsons, Metrolink and Busabout. Council supports the general purposes of the bus review which is to encourage more people onto public transport, particularly buses, by making bus routes more direct (thereby faster) and more frequent to more popular destinations. The model appears to be similar to that operated in parts of Europe, including France, where the new consortium would receive incentive payments based on increasing numbers of passengers. It is understood that international standards are being adopted by the NSW Government regarding servicing requirements with a bus service operating within 400 metres of approximately 90 percent of residents between 6.00am and 6.30pm, Monday to Saturday. Outside these times, the aim is to provide a service within 800 metres of residents. Experience has shown, however, that increased passenger numbers on some routes is sometimes achieved by pulling back on routes and services to less popular destinations in order to avoid lengthy circulatory services that make bus

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service travel time less competitive with the car. Council has proactively made a submission to the Ministry of Transport outlining key issues would need to be considered as part of the review. The submission: a. Reinforces the need to service important destinations within and outside the Fairfield LGA. b. Recommends integrated bus services across adjoining bus contract areas. c. Profiles the Fairfield LGA as a unique, diverse, disadvantaged and large residential and employment area. d. Proposes a range of special multilingual communications that should be adopted as part of the Bus Review’s consultation process. e. Highlights the need for an adequate service for the public transport dependent sector of our community including the youth, aged, mobility challenged and the frail. f. Identifies the key destination area types within the LGA that must be serviced in addition to external destinations. g. Proposes a ‘safety net’ service e.g. an on-demand shuttle service, for those who are reliant on buses and who could be overly disadvantaged by the review. h. Recommends that bus travel is affordable for the poorer members of our community.

The Western Sydney Regional Parklands Trust The Western Sydney Regional Parklands Trust was appointed by the NSW State Government this year. Council will be seeking to work closely with the Trust to ensure maximum benefit to Fairfield from sensitive management of the Parklands. Implement Year 7 Parks Improvement Program The Park Improvement Program is a thirteen year strategy to provide at least one welldeveloped park in each neighbourhood area in the City. Implementation of year 7 of the program is underway.

Above Playground equipment upgrade replaced older equipment – typical of parks improvements being undertaken by Council.

Below Decorative railings, designed by Graham Chalcroft, installed at the boardwalk in Stockdale Reserve, Abbotsbury.

Above Fairfield Station Bus Terminal.

Fairfield City Council • State of the Environment Report 2007–2008

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CASE STUDY
Southern Sydney Rail Freight Line (SSFL) The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) received approval from the NSW Government on 21 December 2006, subject to 76 conditions, to construct a dedicated rail freight line (an additional track) between Macarthur and Sefton. The 36 kilometres of track will form part of a dedicated freight link between Melbourne and Brisbane. The track will pass through the north east side of the Cabramatta Town Centre, Carramar and Villawood rail stations and parallel to the current passenger lines. The Commonwealth Government, as of 30 June 2008, was still considering approving the project under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. Further information about the proposal can Act be found at http://www.ssfl.artc.com.au/ Fairfield City Council does not object to the project in principle as the additional rail track will help reduce the increasing rate of trucks on roads. However, it should not be constructed at the expense of the local residents, businesses or the environment. Council’s position is that the SSFL should be constructed as an underground track through Cabramatta with the simultaneous construction of State Rail’s third underground passenger line However, Council has been advised this will not occur. Council is actively involved in assessing traffic management plans, urban domain and engineering plans that have been referred to Council for formal comment. Council can only provide comments and cannot approve or determine any conditions as this rests with the Department of Planning and/or the Minister for Planning. Council has been campaigning strongly for world class design standards for all elements of the SSFL including aesthetics of noise walls, urban domain, traffic management, noise and vibration. Additionally, a Council delegation met with Peter Garrett, Minister for Environment, in May 2008 to seek financial compensation that could be spent on projects that would help offset some of the expected negative impacts.

The community consultation process for year 7 of the program is completed and will inform the design development for each of the parks on the program. Council’s partnership with the Smith Family, under the Fairfield Communities for Children - Parks 4 People Project, continues with completion of Lisbon Street Reserve and construction works commenced in Fairfield District Park. Planning for Stella Street Reserve and Kinta Park are underway. This project provides funding for community artworks to be included in the upgrade of the parks. Parks completed during this reporting period were: • Fitzroy Park • Dan Crescent Reserve • Warragamba Bush Park • Moorehouse Crescent Reserve • Prince Street Reserve. Planning and concept designs are underway for Hughes Street Reserve, Kinghorne Road 20

Reserve, Cabra Vale District Park, Sydney Luker Reserve and Baragoola Reserve. The section of Cabramatta Creek cycleway from Cherrybrook Reserve to Cutler Avenue, Lansvale is complete and links within Rossford Street Reserve and Chisholm Park have also been completed. Flooding Canley Heights Overland Flood Study Fairfield Council’s first overland flood study is in its final stage. The modelling has been completed, showing the High, Medium and Low flood risk precincts from local overland flooding, which is inundation by local runoff rather than overbank discharge from a stream or river. Community consultation included letters to residents who are affected by flooding, along with surveys asking residents for their comments and a community presentation evening. The study will be presented to Council for adopting in the near future.

Fairfield, Smithfield and Old Guildford Overland Flood Studies There are 18 sub-catchments in the Fairfield Urban Area. The three found to be the worst affected by overland flooding are Fairfield, Smithfield and Old Guildford sub-catchments. These three catchments are currently being studied to determine the extent and severity of flooding. Burns Creek Flood Study A new flood study has been recently completed to map the floodplain up to the Probable Maximum Flood extent and the High, Medium and Low flood risk precincts. The results of this study will shortly be presented to the community for their information and comment. Rural Area Flood Study The Rural Area Flood Study comprises the catchments of Ropes, Reedy and Eastern Creeks. A new flood study is currently underway and will describe the extent and severity of flooding up to the Probable Maximum Flood (PMF) and determine High, Medium and Low flood risk precincts. Three Tributaries Flood Study Council has recently undertaken a flood study to identify the extent of the floodplain along the three main branches (i.e. tributaries) of Prospect Creek. These tributaries are Orphan School Creek, Clear Paddock Creek and Green Valley Creek. The flood study for these creeks was commissioned because the existing flood information had not been updated for quite some time. Also the NSW Government’s Floodplain Development Manual requires that Council determines the floodplain up to the Probable Maximum Flood (PMF), which had not yet been done for these creeks. Community consultation has been undertaken and the Three Tributaries Flood Study will be presented to Council in the near future. Prospect Creek Floodplain Risk Management Study and Plan The Prospect Creek Floodplain Risk Management Study and Plan was reviewed to determine mitigation options to reduce flooding in the Prospect Creek catchment.

The options included a mix of flood mitigation works such as road raising, deflector levees and stream clearing to increase conveyance. The Plan also reviewed the existing house-raising and voluntary purchase schemes and proposes mitigation options for locations such as Sandal Crescent and Widemere Road. The Plan also proposes that safety measures during extreme floods is considered and discussed with the SES and that detention basin performance is also reviewed for these events. Geomorphic Study of Cabramatta Creek The project has studied the geomorphic changes that have occurred in Cabramatta Creek and made assessments that have found the causes of existing problems (e.g. bed and bank erosion) and other environmental issues (e.g. water quality and vegetative cover). After this, a list of works and strategies were developed to overcome in-stream problems, such as erosion and sedimentation, bank stability, bed and bar stability, high flow velocities, floods, poor water quality, lack of riparian zone vegetation and aquatic habitat.

Above Aerial view of 1986 flooding at Lansvale at Hollywood Drive with Prospect Creek to the right.

Fairfield City Council • State of the Environment Report 2007–2008

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Noise Continue Anti Airport Strategy The Mayor continued to attend meetings of the Western Sydney Alliance. The Alliance arranged a meeting with various Federal politicians in Canberra, including the Leader of the Opposition. representa The Alliance has made further representations to the new Federal Government and Council and prepared a major response to the National Aviation Policy Statement in June 2008. Council also worked to obtain better monitoring of aircraft noise from Bankstown Airport through the use of ‘Flight Tracker’ re computer technology. Further work is required in this area as monitoring remains move inadequate and the number of aircraft movements to and from the airport continues to increase annually. Accessible City Implement Bicycle Project Launched in May 2007, this project will provide seed funding for the operation of the Green Bike Scheme. The Green Bikes scheme will encourage residents to make greater use of the existing cycleway network. Increased access to physical activity will assist in reducing obesity, cardiac conditions and diabetes levels all of which are high in Fairfield City against NSW averages. In addition to improved health outcomes for the community, the program will improve safety on the cycleway network as increased patronage results in natural surveillance which leads to fewer opportunities for criminal activity. If successful over time, the program could be expanded and provide an employment program for those involved in operating the system.

Right The “Green Bikes Scheme” with recycled bicycles. Cycling for all the family. (Photo courtesy CADMonkey).

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Fairfield City Council • State of the Environment Report 2007–2008

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