Blue Mountains Scenic World's $1.1m expansion plans

Hammons Holdings plans to spend more than $1.1 million tripling the size of their viewing platform at Scenic World and creating additional queueing areas for the Skyway and Cableway.

The matter was heard at the Local Planning Panel on Monday night, because it sought to vary the maximum building height development standard. It was given the green light that evening.

The changes at 2 Violet Street include demolishing the ground floor's 40m2 viewing terrace and replacing it with a 90m2 area, including extra patron queuing area for the Cableway, pram storage and a small storage room. It also includes knocking down the 15m2 open viewing terrace on the first floor and adding a 45m2 viewing platform with extra queuing area for the Skyway.

Managing director, Anthea Hammon said "the DA [development application] to extend our queueing areas for the Scenic Skyway and Cableway will continue to improve the great visitor experience at Scenic World, by moving people waiting for these rides out of our retail space and into dedicated queuing areas".

Ms Hammon said it was the second stage of these works, with the first already under construction and due to be completed in the next couple of months.

Queueing is not currently a problem at Scenic World, despite it being Lunar New Year, when the popular tourist venue is normally packed with visitors. The tourist attraction has taken a heavy hit from the fires and coronavirus.

Scenic World Chief Experience Officer, Amanda Byrne, said: "Scenic World and tourism generally are being significantly impacted by the coronavirus". But she added "we are optimistic about recovery for Blue Mountains tourism and are very much behind Tourism Australia's campaign encouraging Australians to holiday here this year, working with local industry and council to develop our own destination marketing campaign".

A report to the planning panel said the site currently has a maximum height of buildings of 8m to the north western portion of the zone and 5.5m to the south east. The extension will now see the maximum height increase to about 10.3m within the 8m area and 7.6m in the 5.5m zone. But the roofline of the extension will not be higher than the existing building's roofline, because the ground level drops away on the eastern and southern sides.

The application included photo montages showing the proposed works from areas such as Cliff View Lookout, reporting that the overall changes "are relatively minor". The proposal includes a 6000 litre tank to capture stormwater run-off. The works will cost $1,126,000.

There were no objections from the NSW Rural Fire Service, WaterNSW, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and council's environmental scientist, principal development engineer and council's monitoring team. It was approved subject to native ground cover being included at the end of the existing cliff outfall line.