WILLIAMTOWN residents say they are "exhausted from living in limbo" and see no clear resolution in a draft master plan for the area's Special Activation Precinct (SAP) released last week.
Terry and Jenny Robinson told the Newcastle Herald a lack of transparency around the future of their land, which sits in the PFAS-affected Red Zone, has taken a toll.
"Jenny has been in the thick of this for seven years," Terry Robinson said.
"Has it affected her mental health? Absolutely it has."
Williamtown's SAP, as proposed in the draft master plan, is to cover 395 hectares of land situation mostly between Cabbage Tree Road and Newcastle Airport - with some land taken south of the road zoned largely as "SP2 Drainage" and encompassing the Robinsons' property.
For the couple, who have lived at the Cabbage Tree Road address for 20 years, mandatory acquisition of their property for the SAP was going to be an escape from PFAS contamination.
However a lack of consultation, rising property prices and a potential drop in the value of their land due to contamination, means the Robinsons "aren't able to move forward".
"A lot of people around here are fed up and happy to get out," Ms Robinson said.
"But we don't know when and we don't know how much we are going to get, so we don't know what we're going to end up with. Once again, they are playing with our heads.
"I'm tired. Sorry, I'm tearing up now, but I'm sick of doing submissions and I'm sick of talking at inquiries because I'm doing the work and no one is listening."
The SAP is touted to created 3700 new jobs over the next 40 years in "defence, aerospace, industry, advanced manufacturing, commercial, freight and logistics".
"Creating a well-connected, vibrant employment precinct providing an array of commercial, cultural, social activities and infrastructure which people will want to work, visit and play that is activated throughout the day and evening," the draft master plan states.
"The precinct is strategically located between the two global gateways of Newcastle Airport and the Port of Newcastle. Newcastle Airport is significant for unlocking the potential of the Hunter Region's tourism industry and also providing an opportunity for the region to export services, goods, and skilled labour."
While Terry Robinson said he understands the benefits presented by the SAP, he is concerned his family "can't replace" the amenity of their current property.
"You are on an acreage 20 minutes from the beach and 20 minutes from Newcastle. It's a great spot," Mr Robinson said.
"You are paying $1.5 million for an acreage at the moment and I've spoken to numerous real estate agents who have a list of 30 or 40 people looking to buy these places."
Mr Robinson said a class action, which saw residents in the area paid out for economic losses caused by PFAS contamination, isn't enough to cover his property's price deficit based on a 2020 valuation.
"I'm up for a shortfall of $600,000, if I can find a property. Plus I'm going to be inconvenienced for events that are out of my control. Where's the fairness in that?"
A spokesperson for the Department of Regional NSW told the Newcastle Herald "properties will be acquired in accordance with the Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991 (the Just Terms Act), which sets out legislative requirements to ensure a fair process for compensation".
"The number of properties and the staging of acquisition will be determined following the finalisation of the master plan later this year," the spokesperson said.
"Letters have been sent to landowners and the broader community inviting them to information sessions. The department has doubled the standard 28-day period, to 56 days, to enable time for landowners and the community to meet with the department, provide feedback and make a submission."
Jenny Robinson said there has only been one information session to date - more than a year ago. Ms Robinson also said she has been told by the NSW government that the timing of her land acquisitions will depend on approvals and which "catchment" is constructed first.
"What's been really hard through all this is that you want to do things for your property but we have to put them on hold," she said.
"Do you keep pouring the money in knowing there is nothing coming back?
"They say the acquisition will be on 'just terms'. There is nothing just about it."
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