The Sydney West division of the New South Wales Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP) has approved a development application by construction materials producer Benedict Industries to convert a part of its 22-hectare quarry and recycling facility in Moorebank, located on the banks of the Georges River in Liverpool, in Sydney’s southwest, into a high-tech marina.
The marina, whose cost is estimated at $44.2 million, will comprise 186 berths in a floating wharf in front of a large maritime building which will house a further 250 small craft in dry berth. It will also feature a function centre, restaurants, boat chandlery, boat dealers, a private clubhouse and tourist and member facilities. The main purpose of the new waterfront is to lure Western Sydney’s riverboat community.
The site is currently being managed as a quarry by Benedict Industries which in turn is the driving force behind the proposal. Benedict Sands at Moorebank has been in operation since 1996 and has produced over two million tonnes of washed concrete and asphalt sand from extraction, dredging and recycling operations. The quarry also receives and reprocesses excavation sands for resale and currently produces around 200,000 tonnes of sands and blends per year.
In its Environmental Impact Statement, Benedict argued that the development will utilise the quarry’s existing 6ha dredge pond and existing voids as the basis for the final marina basin design and assist in the restoration of the site without “recourse to landfilling suitable materials into the quarry voids” and importing waste materials onto the site.
14 years in the making
Benedict managing director Ernest Dupere told Quarry that as early as 2000, he thought that “rather than fill the hole in, there should be a marina in there instead. It’s taken us a long time to rezone the land but we finally have the approval to put the marina in”.
Although there have been bureaucratic delays in the last 14 years, Dupere praised the Liverpool City Council for its support of Benedict’s development application in recent years. “The current Liverpool Council has shown strong vision and leadership,” he said. “They really understand the vision for the local area and they know that people want a range of recreational and lifestyle choices.”
From this point forward Benedict will now tailor its energies at Moorebank towards building the marina basin. “From here on in, the quarry activities will in effect be building the marina basin,” Dupere said. “And because of this, no waste has been – or will be – placed in the marina precinct.”
Dupere is confident the marina will revitalise the precinct. “I think if you look at the land and the adjoining river and bushland, and the fact that there aren’t any marinas in the western suburbs of Sydney, the marina seemed like a natural fit and a logical one and a perfect end use for an ageing sand quarry. It’s one that the community have supported.”
He added that the marina would also be massive boon for Sydney boat owners, especially as 80 per cent of boat registrations in Sydney are from the Western Sydney region. Indeed, he is already getting inquiries from interested businesses and boat owners about the marina.
“I get several calls a week from people wanting to either see if we can find space for a boating-related industry, like repairs and sales, or asking, ‘I have a boat, so will I be able to keep it there?’” Dupere laughed. “People don’t realise the time it takes to build these things, so people go, ‘Beauty, I’ll bring my boat down there next week’!”
In its decision, the Sydney West JRPP ruled that the proposed development “will result in rehabilitation and rejuvenation to a degraded site adjacent to the Georges River” and “provide a social and recreational facility within the City of Liverpool and the broad locality that exploit the attraction of the Georges River and which will add to the regional stature of the City”.
The panel was also satisfied that the development would also not adversely affect existing or future traffic conditions in the “immediate locality” and that the design of the proposed facilities and the required flood management and evacuation arrangements would address issues of building protection and risk to life and property in major flood events.
Liverpool Council had two representatives on the JRPP: deputy mayor Mazhar Hadid and councillor Tony Hadchiti. “People will see this $44 million investment in the area as a huge vote of confidence,” Cr Hadchiti told The Sydney Morning Herald.
Although it will be two and a half years before the new waterfront is operational, Benedict’s Dupere said that work to prepare the site would begin immediately. He said he expects the marina basin will be greatly appreciated in years ahead, even if people do not fully understand the role that Benedict Industries has in the development, from inception to completion.
“I’d like to think that the community will appreciate the range of activities from the quarrying to the recycling activities that we’ve conducted on the site and finally transforming a degraded site into an asset that’s to be enjoyed by the community,” Dupere said.