Planning Minister John Rau yesterday gazetted another 12 month extension for the start of work on the long-stalled project, which aims to create a community of 12,000 homes for more than 30,000 people by 2036.
The latest extension on development approval gives proponent Walker Corporation until October 2017 to begin major work on the satellite suburb – a decade after the concept was first given major project status by the State Government.
After an extensive environmental impact process, the first official deadline for beginning substantial works was set at 1 February 2012. Since then there have been numerous extensions, and adjustments requested and granted to the project.
Planning Minister John Rau said the extension wasn’t unusual.
“The developer has been granted an extension to begin substantial work,” he said in a statement to InDaily.
“This is not unusual in a project of this scale.
“There are no other changes to the approval which includes the need for environmental issues such as the risk of flooding to be addressed.”
In 2010, Walker Corporation boss Lang Walker said his $2 billion Buckland Park project would “provide homes for thousands of South Australian families in one of the State’s fastest growing areas”.
“Buckland Park will offer a mix of aspirational and affordable housing and a community where economic, social and environmental sustainability are paramount,” he said.
The company provided a helpful guide to the size of the project.
“Buckland Park measures 6km across and covers 1,340 hectares. It is nearly 50 times the size of Adelaide’s Botanical Gardens and more than twice the size of Mawson Lakes,” it said.
A consistent fear about the project was the risk of flooding, as it’s located on the plain north of St Kilda, about 35km from the CBD.
Indeed, the recent flooding in the north, which destroyed the crops of nearby vegetable growers and, further north, cut off the road to Port Wakefield, also inundated parts of the proposed development area.
The requirement for extensive flood mitigation work was part of the conditions of the development approval and the EIS.
Liberal deputy leader Vickie Chapman visited Buckland Park yesterday and said the land had been inundated in the recent heavy rains, with the local waterways silted up.
“There’s been huge flooding,” she told InDaily.
Millions would have to be spent on flood mitigation before the site would be suitable for building, she said.
Walker Corporation would not comment today.
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