Radiata Plateau in Katoomba – a haven for rock climbers and bushwalkers is under threat, according to the Blue Mountains Conservation Society.
Three development applications were lodged by Maharishi’s Global Administration with Blue Mountains City Council last year for three houses on the plateau.
The society is concerned the houses, which appear identical in design, could be used for commercial rather than residential use and could be expanded further in the future.
This was a concern echoed by residents in Pulpit Hill Rd, from which Radiata Plateau is accessed.
Residents Rodney Mathew and Peter Muirhead both have properties by the access road for one of the proposed houses.
They fear the proposed houses could eventually be used to hold workshops in, thus generating a lot of traffic and noise pollution.
“We are dramatically concerned the proposal will be semi-commercial,” Mr Mathew said. “It's the thin end of the wedge.”
The access road would be 10m from Mr Muirhead’s bedroom. “It’s a gross invasion of privacy,” he said.
Neil Jarman said he moved to the area for peace and quiet. “Instead of looking into the bush, I will be looking into the side of a house.”
Society president Don Morison said if the developments proceed, public access to the plateau is likely to be severely restricted or cease completely.
The majority of the plateau is private land owned by the company, which operates the Transcendental Meditation program.
He said the plateau is home to swamps, heath, threatened plants including the dwarf mountain pine, and endangered species like the giant dragonfly and Blue Mountains water skink.
“The society remains opposed to any development on the plateau and believes the area should be acquired by either the state or Commonwealth government as an addition to the Blue Mountains National Park,” Mr Morison said.
“The proposed three developments in their current form are totally unacceptable and will result in significant environmental impacts. The undeveloped character of the plateau will be lost forever, and if the developments are approved, further development may occur in the future.”
The three development applications are currently before the NSW Land and Environment Court.
It’s not the first time development on Radiata Plateau has been discussed. Back in the 90s residents and environmental groups fought to keep a proposed “academy” out of the area.
Maharishi’s Global Administration did not respond to the Gazette’s requests for comment.