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Winter Sports World given clear run

Australia’s first indoor snow resort and alpine attraction has cleared the final jump to enable development, after NSW Planning Department finalised plans for Winter Sports World yesterday [Thursday, December 16, 2021].

The Local Environmental Plan (LEP) which guides council planning decisions (through zoning and development controls) on how the land at Penrith in Sydney’s western suburbs may be used, has been amended to give the development a clear run.

Changes to the original proposal include revising the shape and size of the development so that all permanent neighbours, including Nepean Shores, receive winter sun.

Winter Sports World site owner and developer Peter Magnisalis said: ``I am a lifelong Penrith local and am committed to reducing the impact on residents next door, so I was more than happy to work with the department on the best possible outcome for everyone.’’

Since Penrith Council endorsed the proposal in May, he has focused on technical studies to satisfy the NSW Planning Department and other State Government agencies.

Revisions include taking better advantage of latest green technology such as incorporating renewable and recycled materials, and thermal and energy efficiency methods in the design and running of the attraction, electric car charging points and an underground carpark.

Detailed flood modelling has also been conducted, with various probabilities studied including the 1 in 100-year scenario (experienced earlier this year), the 1:200-year, 1:500-year and 1:1000-year probable maximum flood (PMF).

A design competition to finalise the exterior will be launched in February.

``A development as exciting as this one is bound to attract misinformation, and I’d like to debunk one of those myths now,’’ Mr Magnisalis said.

Winter Sports World will not take water from the Nepean River. Rather, the rainwater collected from the roof and in onsite tanks will be used to make snow and ice, as well as other water needs for the attraction.

Using real snow, the $300 million development will include:

- A 300m advanced run for experienced athletes and a dedicated learn to ski run

- Olympic sized ice rink

- Competition venue for figure, ice hockey, speed skating & alpine skiing

- Ice climbing for mountaineer training

- 4.5-star 120-room hotel

- Restaurant and cafes with snow views

- Fine dining revolving restaurant

Currently a 2.35ha horse paddock located within the vibrant Riverlink Tourism Precinct on the banks of the Nepean River, the site will also include a Winter Wonderland snow play area, conference and function rooms.

Winter Sports World is expected to generate 900 new ongoing tourism jobs after construction and inject $80 million a year into the local economy with 250,000 visitors annually.

The attraction will also attract international elite snow and ice athletes and provide a training venue for nine Olympic sports (alpine skiing, freestyle skiing, snow board, figure skating, ice hockey, speed skating, curling with the possibility of also catering for cross country and biathlon).

However, the development will be accessible and affordable to all with learn-to-ski classes, school and community group excursions and casual visits by locals encouraged.

``We will have perfect snow under perfect skies all year round, and Winter Sports World will be the coolest place to hang out on those scorching forty-degree summer days in Penrith.’’

The carbon-neutral design of the development by renowned eco-friendly architecture practice Environa Studio would set new environmental building benchmarks with features such as most advanced technology for capturing and reuse of free heat, roof solar system for electrical energy needs, insulation systems, non-toxic cooling and roof water harvesting for snow making.

Construction will hopefully commence next year, with Winter Sports World expected to open in winter 2024.

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