Lions, elephants and marsupials will roam free at a new zoo at Blacktown in Sydney’s west after it was approved by the New South Wales Planning Assessment Commission.
The Bungarribee zoo won’t cage its animals with the aim to attract Sydney families to the zoo which will have large open spaces.
Sydney Zoo will build the $36 million park featuring over 30 exhibits including elevated board walks and glassed observation areas.
It is expected the zoo will contribute about $45 million a year to the New South Wales economy and $3 million in extra tourist spending, with the completion set for 2018.
About 160 jobs will be created during construction and at least 120 jobs during operation.
Deputy Mayor of Blacktown Council Tony Beasdale welcomed the decision.
“This kind of activity, this kind of decision is going to go a long way for us in terms of tourism [and] job creation,” he said.
“[There will be] 300 jobs [and]we are so, so happy about that one.
“We’re very, very pleased about the whole idea itself; it will really supplement what is already occurring.
“It will be a massive expansion of western Sydney, particularly in Blacktown, so it shows that people are putting their money where the entertainment is going to be.”
However, community members have raised concerns with the independent commission about how it would affect local conservation and social programs.
The commission said those issues were likely to be balanced by the social benefits offered by the zoo.