Legal threat to Crown’s $2b Sydney casino
Legal action has been launched to stop work Crown Resort’s $2 billion Barangaroo casino and hotel project.
The NSW independent Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) gave its approval for the project to proceed in June and work had already begun on the site with a view to opening to the new resort in 2021.
As part of that process, Crown and property developer Lend Lease, had to allow greater public access to key parts of the resort such as an observation deck and the foreshore, while there were also requirements to build better pedestrian access around the waterfront and facilitate the expansion of a nearby park.
But a community group, known as the Millers Point Fund, is challenging the validity of the project and Crown informed investors on Tuesday that it had been served with legal proceedings.
The exact nature of those proceedings are not known but various media have reported that the groups’ principal concern was Crown Sydney’s impact on the public accessible open space on the foreshore.
“Basically we are saying the Casino Control Act doesn’t dictate the planning decisions that are made in NSW,” Sue Higginson, the chief executive officer and principal solicitor at the Environmental Defenders Office, which filed the claim in the Land and Environment Court on Tuesday, told the SMH.
“In fact the PAC really is required to make a decision about where a casino can and cannot be built based on planning law.”
Lend Lease, the Barangaroo Delivery Authority, the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority and the NSW Minister for Planning are also named in the proceedings.
The hearing is set down for the Land and Environment Court of NSW on August 26.
Crown chairman James Packer has made the project his priority and the company has sated it will vigorously defend this latest impediment.
The project, comprising a casino and 350-room hotel, is already 18 months behind its original schedule because of the drawn out planning process.
Packer paid $100 million up front in 2014 to the NSW government to obtain the casino licence.
Crown already operated casinos in Melbourne and Perth as well as several in Asia