Croc Park zombie DA revived at Blue Mountains Council: Conservation Society

The Department of Planning and Environment says a controversial three decades old crocodile park proposal for the Great Western Highway, between Bullaburra and Wentworth Falls, is council's responsibility.

A spokeswoman from the Department told the Gazette the crocodile and wildlife park proposal "is a matter for council, not the Department of Planning, it has nothing to do with us".

About four hectares of land was cleared at 10 Great Western Highway in May to make way for the proposed flora and fauna park.

The Blue Mountains Conservation Society has called the plans a "zombie development application" that has come "back from the dead".

The DA was approved after bitterly contested legal action went all the way from the Blue Mountains council chambers to the NSW Supreme Court in the late 1980s. The Mountains has since been given World Heritage status.

Plans from the original DA approved at the council meeting of November 21 in 1989 show a flora and fauna park with a souvenir shop and refreshment room. (The developer at the time agreed not to bring in crocodiles after council sit-in protests).

On the ground level there's a proposed butterfly and moth display, a bird feeding platform, tortoises, reptiles, wombats, kangaroos, wallabites, emus, koala home, theatrette, bistro and large purification lagoon. Heading into the lower ground floor there's an artificial landscaped creek, glowworms, a termite and spider display, gliders, echidnas, native cats, platypi, possums, numbats, flying foxes and a noctarium.

Resident of Wentworth Falls, Farshad Amirbeaggi, a solicitor director with Yates Beaggi Lawyers, is a spokesman for the park. He said a mixture of "local and international backers" is behind the proposal, adding consent was activated back in 1991 and "whether people like it or not, that's the law".

Mr Amirbeaggi said the plan is for a $30 million dollar "five to six star" wildlife park development with 40 hotel rooms, which will "attract one million people per year". He said traffic experts had been engaged.

"Construction will commence soon. There will be multiple species ... reptiles, koalas, wallabies ... I think the answer is yes [to crocodiles]," he told the Gazette last month.

At a recent meeting, councillors unanimously voted to write to the planning minister and to also raise the problem of development consents that have "been slow to be put into practice", at the October local government conference.

President of the 800-member Society, Lachlan Garland, said they are concerned by the impact on swamps and watercourses which run into the national park, animal welfare issues, road safety, loss of native vegetation and impacts on the bushland buffer between towns.

A council spokeswoman has confirmed they are investigating the land clearing.