General FAQs

    What is a Precinct Plan?

    A Precinct Plan is a long-term planning document, and is related to the broader Katoomba Masterplan. The Precinct Plan outlines the vision, principles and priorities for the future of a specific area. Precinct Plans are used to guide growth and development, often over a 10-20 year period, and are subject to regular review.

    Precinct Plans are often smaller in scale than a Masterplan. There may be multiple Precinct Plans that sit within a broader Master Plan, as their very own planning documents.

    Blue Mountains City Council uses this approach in the Local Environmental Plan, to help define the special qualities and character of particular areas through detailed planning controls. 

    What is a Masterplan?

    A Masterplan is a detailed plan that guides future design and development for public spaces. It outlines developments which improve function and access; recognises, respects and enhances the existing character; and facilitate social activity and amenity for both residents and visitors. 

    Masterplans must be endorsed by Council.

    How do the two plans fit together?

    Council started a master planning process for the whole of Katoomba in late 2020. That work has progressed and can be found on Council’s Have Your Say site

    The former Katoomba Golf Course is located within the area covered by the Katoomba Masterplan. Given its strategic importance and unique qualities, this is the first key site that we are planning in detail though the preparation of a Precinct Plan. 

    Why prepare a Precinct Plan for the former Katoomba Golf Course?

    As you may be aware, in September 2020 Council purchased the former Katoomba Golf Course Clubhouse that adjoins 30 hectares of Council-owned public land (the former Golf Course site). 

    This has presented Council with an opportunity to strategically plan for the entire site, principally through developing a Precinct Plan. Precinct Planning for this site provides an amazing opportunity to do something special at this extraordinary location within our City. 

    We want to do this in a coordinated and transparent way, with the involvement of the community. 

    What is the purpose of the former Katoomba Golf Course Precinct Plan?

    The former Katoomba Golf Course Precinct Plan will set the vision, principles and priorities for the future of the site, guide any future uses to occur on the site and set a framework for how the site might be transformed over time.

    The Precinct Plan will also contain an implementation plan with short, medium and long term actions. 

    How will the Precinct Planning process work?

    The process will have several stages, the first of which is early engagement with the community – that’s what we’re doing now. 

    Some community feedback about the former Katoomba Golf Course has already been provided as part of earlier engagement on the broader Katoomba Master Plan in 2021.

    Building on this feedback as well as what we hear from the community now, we will consider various options for the site and propose priorities for future use, with a particular focus on planetary health outcomes (see below). To assist us in this process we have engaged a range of specialist consultants (engagement, transport, bushfire and urban design) as well as specialist internal staff to inform our work moving forward. 

    We expect to present a draft Precinct Plan to the community for public comment, before the end of the year. 

    What do we know about the site?

    Initial analysis of the former golf course has been undertaken, which includes careful consideration of existing environmental features on the site and the surrounding environment. This analysis is used to consider how best to protect important environmental aspects and also to inform how the site might be transformed over time, including which locations may be appropriate for certain uses. Specialist consultants and key Council staff will build on and inform a greater understanding of the site as the project moves forward. Some initial information about the site can be found on the site plan.

    I provided some ideas for the site previously. Is that going to be considered?

    Yes, all of the ideas provided by the community so far will be considered alongside the feedback we are now seeking, as part of this engagement process. 

    We received a number of comments and suggestions for the former Katoomba Golf Course site during earlier and broader engagement on the Katoomba Master Plan in 2021. 

    At that time, the community told us that the former Katoomba Golf Course site could be used for– an education or learning facility; sustainable housing; parks or recreation (like a community garden, nature-based playground or urban farm); or businesses (like an Indigenous-led enterprise, planetary institute, museum, environment centre, or markets).

    Read the Katoomba Masterplan Stage One Community Engagement Report (May 2021).

    Why am I hearing about Planetary Health, and what is it?

    Planetary Health links our health with the health of the natural systems which support all life. 

    Council has a long history of embedding sustainability into our operations and practices, and helping to protect the planet. Planetary health and sustainability sits at the heart of our Local Strategic Planning Statement Blue Mountains 2040 Living Sustainably. Get more information on Council’s 20+ year sustainability journey.

    In our last Community Survey in 2020, Blue Mountains’ residents told us that what matters most to them is bushfire and disaster prevention, maintaining the natural environment and appropriately managing development.

    Given the increase in natural disasters and the critical urgency to stop climate change now – as well as protect our World Heritage Area, restore planetary health and improve health and wellbeing – Council has established the Blue Mountains Planetary Health Initiative

    The Blue Mountains Planetary Health Initiative is building on our long-term commitment to restore social, environmental and economic health across the City – and, in turn, generate new jobs for the future. It’s occurring alongside Council’s core business – of waste, road and infrastructure works.

    Therefore, a key strategic direction for the former Katoomba Golf Course precinct is for this extraordinary location to have a focus on planetary health for the benefit of the City.

    Is a university involved?

    As referenced in local and other media, Council has entered into Memoranda of Understanding with a number of tertiary institutions, to explore opportunities for a leadership centre in the field of Planetary Health.

    The potential for a leadership centre is one of the potential opportunities for the former Katoomba Golf Course precinct, however there are many other possibilities at part of the Blue Mountains Planetary Health Initiative. We want to hear from the community about their thoughts and ideas for the site through this early engagement process. 

    What’s been happening at the Katoomba Golf Course site recently?

    The Blue Mountains Planetary Health Initiative is based there – including the Planetary Health Local Action Program. The lower floor of the existing clubhouse is accommodating small activities and events.

    Council has established a long term lease with National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) – who are also committed to the ethos of the Planetary Health Initiative.

    1. At the 30 March 2021 Council Meeting, the Council resolved to lease the upper floor of the for Katoomba Golf Clubhouse to NPWS for an initial term of five years, plus an option for a further five year term.  The revenue generated from this lease arrangement is at a commercial rate and is covering the maintenance costs of not only the clubhouse, but also the adjoining 40ha former Katoomba Golf Course site.
    2. A Memorandum of Understanding is also being finalised with NPWS to ensure best utilisation of the upper floor meeting/conference/function space for use by not only NPWS but also by BMCC for Planetary Health Initiative events. The Blue Mountains World Heritage Institute has also taken out a three month license for use of part of the former Pro Shop space on the lower ground floor of the former Katoomba Golf clubhouse, two days a week as a base for their organisation.
    3. The Blue Mountains World Heritage Institute is also using part of the former Pro Shop space on the lower ground floor of the clubhouse, two days a week, as the base for their organisation.

    We have also started implementing environmental research on site. 

    How will future plans for the site be guided?

    We have since developed a draft focus (or set of nine draft principles) to guide future plans for the site. This focus draws together Council’s early and ongoing work in sustainability, the views heard from the community in Stage 1 consultation and guidance and ideas from the Planetary Health Advisory Committee in its role as a Stakeholder Reference Group for the project. 

    The former Katoomba Golf Course site should be: 

    A place for:

    • Caring for Country – Listening to and learning from Country, Traditional Owners and other First Nations people 
    • The community, particularly our youth, to come together to investigate, innovate and demonstrate Planetary Health
    • Learning, discovery, scientific and artistic exploration within the Blue Mountains regional and internationally.

    A place which:

    • Protects, restores and respects water, soil, vegetation and animals
    • Demonstrates and communicates strategies for restoring Planetary Health
    • Evolves over time through regular review and responding to lessons learned. 

    A place that provides:

    • Spaces and supporting structures that are environmentally responsive and integrated within the site
    • Flexible, multipurpose and adaptive structures and spaces which shape interactions and build relationships
    • International leadership on Planetary Health through a Blue Mountains lens / looking glass.

    I live next door to the former Katoomba Golf Course, what does this mean for me?

    We have arranged specific opportunities for adjacent and nearby residents to ask questions, share their ideas and talk to Council staff. These residents will receive a letter from the project team, explaining how they can engage with us.

    How are we engaging with Traditional Custodians?

    Council is working closely with Traditional Owners (Custodians) in planning for the site. The project team has met, and continues to meet regularly, with representatives of the Dharug and Gundungurra people on the project. Traditional Owners will also be part of a Stakeholder Reference Group for the project moving forward.

    How can I participate in the Precinct Planning process?

    There are several ways you can get involved:

    • This is your invitation to imagine: Share your vision with words, images or artwork with the ideas tool.
    • Complete the survey: Let us know what you think is great about the site now, and what you would like to see in the future. 
    • Join us at an event: A number of events will be held during March and April and you can participate in person or online. 

    For more information or to participate offline, please call the City Planning team on 4780 5000.

    What is the Stakeholder Reference Group (SRG)?

    A Stakeholder Reference Group (SRG) is considered to be a representative sample of the community. This group works with Council to examine input from the community and use it to develop a vision for the site, draft planning principles, and provide feedback on options for future uses.

    The SRG established for the Katoomba Masterplan will be expanded to assist with the Precinct Plan for the former Katoomba Golf Course.

FAQs from the Neighbour and Community Workshops

    Do the terms of bequest of the land prohibit use other than public amenity and recreation?

    The former Katoomba Golf Course land has been owned by Council for over 100 years, with a more recent purchase of the Katoomba Golf Course Clubhouse in 2020. With reference to a bequest (or trust), this occurred in 1920 over part of the current site. Subsequent changes to land classification and development applications mean that current limits to uses on the site are now governed by the land zoning under the Local Environmental Plan. A short overview of the history and timeline of the site has been prepared and is available in the documents section.

    Was the land gifted to the community, and are there any restrictions to development on the site?

    The former Katoomba Golf Course land has been owned by Council for over 100 years, with a more recent purchase of the Katoomba Golf Course Clubhouse in 2020. With reference to a bequest (or trust), this occurred in 1920 over part of the current site. Subsequent changes to land classification and development applications mean that current limits to uses on the site are now governed by the land zoning under the Local Environmental Plan. A short overview of the history and timeline of the site has been prepared and is available in the documents section.

    Is this community land, and will Council be required to develop a plan of management?

    All public land is classified as either community land or operational land. The classification of the site (including the golf course and club house) is operational land. Only community land requires a Plan of Management, but there will be clear guidelines for use, development and management developed, similar in nature to the content of a Plan of Management.

    What land uses are allowed on the site currently? How is it currently zoned?

    The current zoning of the site is Public Recreation and Environmental Protection. A map showing these zones is available in the documents section. The classification of operational land applies to the entire site and across both land use zones.

    The Local Environmental Plan (LEP 2015) provides details on the Public Recreation land use zone, but it essentially enables such land to be used for a range of public open space or recreational purposes in line with the following objectives:

    • To provide a range of recreational settings and activities and compatible land uses.
    • To protect and enhance the natural environment for recreational purposes.
    • To enhance the quality of life of residents and visitors and improve the amenity of the villages in the Blue Mountains through the provision and management of open space.

    The Local Environmental Plan (LEP 2015) provides details on the Environmental Conservation land use zone. This is a restrictive zone which only permits a limited range of land uses in keeping with the following objectives:

    • To protect, manage and restore areas of high ecological, scientific, cultural or aesthetic values.
    • To prevent development that could destroy, damage or otherwise have an adverse effect on those values.
    • To encourage land restoration works on disturbed bushland areas.
    • To restrict the development of private land that would be inappropriate because of physical characteristics or high bush fire hazards, but only where less restricted development is permitted elsewhere on the land due to split zoning.
    • To maintain biodiversity in the Blue Mountains.

    How will community input be used?

    Council staff will review all feedback obtained through early engagement and analyse this for common themes and ideas. Those common themes and ideas will then be reviewed and responses provided as part of a report to Council on the outcomes of the early engagement. It is likely the response to community feedback will indicate which ideas will be taken forward as part of preparing the Draft Precinct Plan, as well as comment on which ideas could not be progressed.

    Is there more information about the analysis done on site to date (e.g. transport, modelling about traffic tolerance, urban planning etc.)?

    Site analysis, including environmental mapping is provided in the documents section. Early baseline environmental work has also commenced, including a crayfish survey completed on the site in November 2021 and some initial swamp restoration work with a newly formed Swampcare group focused on this site.

    Summary information on supporting analysis and strategies, including transport, traffic, urban design and strategic bush fire work, will be provided as part of the draft Precinct Plan as part of public exhibition. 

    If this is an education precinct, will it have accommodation?

    The role of accommodation associated with education opportunities on the site has been discussed and we would be interested to understand the view of the community on this, as part of the early engagement phase. Council staff will need to consider whether this is an appropriate use on the site and if so, where it might be located, how it might be designed etc. This would all form part of the development of the Draft Precinct Plan.

    I live/ own property adjacent to the former golf course site. Why haven't I received any direct communications from Council?

    Council has communicated directly with neighbours of the site, based on the street and postal addresses in our records. If you feel you are a neighbour of the site, please email the planning team at katoombagcprecinct@bmcc.nsw.gov.au.

    How will you ensure community access is maintained?

    The site is public land and the development of the Draft Precinct Plan will be informed by draft planning principles. These principles will outline future uses, including community uses.

    The Draft Planning Principles are available in the documents section.  

    Is the vision more than one big idea, or does it comprise many smaller different initiatives?

    A vision is usually, but not always, a short aspirational intent for an area or site. However, the Draft Precinct Plan will include the development of a series of draft planning principles to guide a range of uses and initiatives considered appropriate for the site.

    Can we rename the site?

    The name of the site used in planning at this stage is the Former Katoomba Golf Course, which reflects its current status and not a future direction. It is likely that a draft name for the site will form part of the exhibition material later this year. The process for developing a name will be outlined and feedback will be welcome. 

    The site is currently zoned Public Recreation and Environmental Protection under Blue Mountains Local Environmental Plan 2015. The range of uses permitted currently are listed below, under the question – what land uses are allowed on the site currently?

    Will land be set aside for housing?

    Neither of the zones currently over the site permit residential land uses. In order for this use to occur, the site would need to be rezoned. The planning process does allow for the rezoning of land. This would require a separate process to amend the currently planning controls (a Local Environmental Plan amendment) and would involve extensive public consultation.  

    It is also important to the note that the characteristics of the site (including environmental considerations and bush fire risk) may mean that the site is not appropriate for some uses.

    How is access to the site, and integration of this site and other sites around it, considered in this planning process?

    Neither of the zones currently over the site permit residential land uses. For this use to occur, the site would need to be rezoned. The planning process does allow for the rezoning of land. This would require a separate process to amend the currently planning controls (a Local Environmental Plan amendment) and would involve extensive public consultation.  

    It is also important to the note that the characteristics of the site (including environmental considerations and bush fire risk) may mean that the site is not appropriate for some uses.

    How is access to the site, and integration of this site and other sites around it, considered in this planning process?

    Summary information on supporting analysis and strategies, including transport, traffic, urban design and strategic bush fire work, will be provided as part of the Draft Precinct Plan, when it goes on Public Exhibition. The planning process will expressly consider the integration of the site within the broader Katoomba township.

    Who are the members of the Planetary Health Committee and how will be involved in the process?

    You can access all the details and Information about the Planetary Health Advisory Committee, including current members online.

    To date, the Planetary Health Advisory Committee has provided advice and been a sounding board for initial investigations in relation to Planetary Health and proposed Planetary Health Initiatives across the City. The Committee has also participated in the development of draft planning principles for the site. These draft principles reflect the strategic direction captured in Council’s other planning documents and provide a broad guiding framework at this stage of the process. 

    The Draft Planning Principles are available in the documents section. 

    What are the draft planning principles developed for the site so far?

    Council has developed a set of draft planning principles in collaboration by the Planetary Health Committee. These draft principles reflect the strategic direction captured in Council’s other planning documents and provide a broad guiding framework at this stage of the process.

    The Draft Planning Principles are available in the documents section. 

    Could the site be used to showcase exemplar wetland management in a high-altitude area?

    Yes, future uses of the site could encompass a range of environmental restoration and education projects. It is anticipated there will be many such ideas provided during this early engagement. There is currently mapped health, scrub and swamp vegetation on the site, as can be seen in the site maps available for download. This vegetation is protected by the Environmental Conservation land use zone, and the restoration and management of this vegetation is expressly considered in the objectives of that zone.

    How do you maintain the balance, to meet the needs of the community now and into the future?

    Ultimately, the Precinct Plan (which will be based on strategic planning objectives, an understanding of the characteristics of the site, and the results of community engagement) will guide future development in terms of land use and activities. Such plans are subject to regular review, and this will provide the opportunity to consider the needs of the community over time.

    Is there an opportunity for community living, and social sustainability, to be showcased on this project?

    As part of this early engagement (conducted in April 2022), Council would be pleased to receive all ideas and suggestions from the community. It is important to the note that the characteristics of the site (including environmental considerations and bush fire risk) may mean that the site is not appropriate for some uses. Additionally, it is worth highlighting that community living, indeed any residential land use, is not currently permitted under the Public Recreation land use zone.

    How are you engaging other stakeholders in the local community?

    Council has worked closely with key stakeholders and conducted consultation with the community. We have, and continue, to work closely with both Gundungurra and Dharug Traditional Owners, and have run community and neighbour workshops, as well as ‘pop up’ engagement sessions in Katoomba and other locations across the Blue Mountains. In addition, an information flyer was sent to every house in the Blue Mountains inviting the community to participate in the consultation through this project page and an online survey. 

    The current Stakeholder Reference Group for the Katoomba Master Plan will be expanded to include a range of representative of groups in the community, including Traditional Owners. Other stakeholder groups are also being engaged directly.  

    We are also inviting groups to host their own discussions about this project using this discussion and group submission template. Please email katoombagcprecinct@bmcc.nsw.gov.au if you like us to engage with your community group directly.   

    What is the policy regarding trees, particularly mature trees that are not native?

    You can access information on Council’s tree management processes and policies on our website. 

    With specific reference to trees on this site, there are many trees of substantial age, many of which are not native species, but still have an important role to play as part of the current landscape. It will be important that all trees are assessed for safety as we move forward. This will include arboricultural and weed assessments.  

    What is Council doing / going to do to ensure wildlife is accounted for in the plans?

    Council has existing mapping of sightings of native fauna on the site and has recently conducted a crayfish survey on the site. The likely approach to fauna management on the site will be the continuing protection of significant vegetation communities as habitat, and the restoration of this habitat through programs such as Swampcare and Bushcare.

    What notice will residents be given on the outcome of whatever project goes ahead?

    All neighbours who received a letter advising of early engagement will continue to be updated on the progression of the project. The next communication is likely to be notification of a Council report on the outcomes of early engagement, currently proposed around June/July 2022. 

    Future notification will be provided related to when a draft Precinct Plan will be considered for placing on public exhibition, through to any resulting adoption of a final Precinct Plan for the site. 

    When communication is related to a Council report all effort will be made to provide letters the week before the Council meeting, when the business paper for a meeting is available for viewing. 

    There may well be other opportunities for engagement and notification specific to neighbours and these will occur as they arise. 

    Council will continue to keep you informed through this project page. If you want to receive updates via email, please make sure you click ‘subscribe’ under the Follow Project section.