Record $1.5 billion in approved development for 2019-20

Published on 01 July 2020

Artist's impression of Macquarie Tower at Charlestown.jpg

Lake Macquarie City Council approved almost $1.5 billion in development in the past 12 months, breaking new ground for total value in a financial year.

The overall value of DAs, including modifications to approved development, totalled $1.48 billion in the 2019-20, up from $1.24 billion in 2018-19.

With its rapid residential and commercial growth, Cameron Park was the suburb with the highest value of approved DAs for the second year running.

Council approved almost $200 million worth of development there in the past financial year, with another $107 million approved in Bennetts Green, $105 million in Edgeworth and $103 million in Cardiff.

Manager Development Assessment Liz Lambert said ongoing demand for development in Lake Macquarie would help drive the City’s economy as it recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Construction remains one of the biggest employers in Lake Macquarie,” Ms Lambert said.

“Expediting development applications and approving appropriate development throughout this period will help retain jobs and will help our City grow.”

Major developments approved in the past 12 months include a $25 million mixed use commercial and residential tower in Charlestown, a $13.5 million block of flats in Cardiff and a $12 million church in Cameron Park.

Council’s Head of Development and Planning Glenn Bunny said while large commercial developments attracted the most publicity, the value and impact of residential development were equally significant.

“The residential development we’re seeing in places like Charlestown, Belmont, Cardiff and Glendale – much of it medium-density –reflects the transformation of Lake Macquarie,” Mr Bunny said.

“It shows how we are fast becoming a true regional city, rather than a city of suburbs.”

Three of the top 10 most valuable DAs approved in the past financial year were for seniors housing, with a $40.9 million facility in Edgeworth, a $15.9 million development in Cardiff and a $15.7 million development in West Wallsend.

“Providing this kind of housing is another important element in our City’s growth,” Ms Lambert said.

“It not only helps accommodate Australia’s ageing population, it also frees up housing stock for other parts of the community as seniors move into these developments.

“A lot of those larger, traditional blocks older people might have lived in for many years can either be improved or rezoned for medium density development.”

A total 1583 new DAs were lodged in the past financial year, down from 1852 in 2018-19.

However, Ms Lambert said the overall value of approved development was boosted by the high number of amended DAs in 2019-20.

Lake Macquarie Mayor Cr Kay Fraser said Council had continued its assessment of DAs as normal despite COVID-19.

“It is crucial that we keep our City moving, despite the challenges of recent months,” Cr Fraser said.

“It’s wonderful to see confidence within the local building industry to keep projects progressing and we’re playing our part to keep our economy growing.”