Crown’s Barangaroo Project Faces Legal Challenge
Crown Resort’s $2 billion casino and apartment complex project in Barangaroo, New South Wales (NSW) has hit yet another roadblock with a citizens’ group filing a lawsuit against the decision made in June by the Planning Assessment Commission’s (PAC) to approve the Barangaroo casino proposal.
The group known as Millers Point Fund Incorporated has filed a case in the Land and Environment Court claiming that the Commission made a major error in its evaluation of the project.
Millers Point alleges that PAC based its verdict on an amendment made in the Casino Control Act in 2013 under which a casino could be built near the proposed foreshore in Barangaroo. The group holds that decision to be incorrect.
In a statement, Sue Higginson, the chief executive officer and principal solicitor at the Environmental Defenders Office, the first that represents Millers Point said
Basically we are saying the Casino Control Act doesn't dictate the planning decisions that are made in NSW.
In fact the PAC really is required to make a decision about where a casino can and cannot be built based on planning law.
Higginson said that the wrongful basis of PAC’s decision made it invalid. The Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) which is acting on behalf of Millers Point Fund Incorporated which is an entity comprising multiple local communities. The communities want the foreshore to be fully accessible to the public.
The case has named the respondents as Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, Planning Minister Rob Stokes, James Packer's Crown Resorts, the Barangaroo Delivery Authority and Lendlease. Proceedings on the case will begin later this month. The development of the casino complex on the foreshore was the most controversial component of the plan. The planning director of the City of Sydney, Graham Jahn had in fact opposed the decision to locate a casino in a space where a public park had been planned.
Responding to the legal action, Crown said that it will be defending itself in the proceedings vigorously. A spokesperson for Rob Stokes said that the government acknowledged the initiation of the judicial proceedings adding that everyone had the right to legally challenge a decision.
These new legal proceedings implies further delay for James Packer’s Barangaroo project. He has said earlier that the project was of prime importance to him and his company. The project has already been delayed due to hurdles in the design phase where multiple changes had to be made before it could get approval from planning authorities.
Some of the changes incorporated in the project include expansion of the public shore on the side of the resort, access to an observation deck on the casino’s tower and extension of a nearby park.
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