RIVERSTONE will get its new police station on Elizabeth Street — just don't expect it to stay above water.
Minister for Planning Brad Hazzard overturned the decision of Blacktown Council and the Sydney West Regional Planning Panel to refuse the development — located in a flood zone next to the existing heritage-listed station building — with the approval recorded on Tuesday.
Blacktown mayor Alan Pendleton said the decision was in direct contravention of the state government's flood plain management policy.
He said council was concerned that placing the police station in a high hazard flood zone would reduce the effectiveness of the emergency service when the community needs it most.
"It's a dumb decision," he said.
"You don't have to go far up the hill or along Riverstone Road. All that area is rural, undeveloped land and they could acquire any site within the command.
"It's not as if this is the only option."
The station will be the second to service the Quakers Hill local area command.
Cr Pendleton said council policy would not let a resident build on the site.
"Someday in the future it will go under water," he said. "These are the people in charge of evacuating the area and the first thing they'd have to do is evacuate themselves."
Engineers found the building would be at least two metres under water in a one-in-100-year flood. If the flood levels reached in 1867 were to occur, there could be more than four metres of water swirling around the three-storey station's ground level.
Data from the Bureau of Meteorology's NSW flood warning centre shows at North Richmond — the nearest site to Riverstone where river levels are recorded — flood waters reached a maximum height of 19 metres.
A spokesman for the centre said examples of one-in-100-year rainfall around Riverstone using current data are approximately 70 millimetres in one hour or 260 millimetres in 24 hours.
Blacktown councillor Allan Green said the community was crying out for a new station in Riverstone, and that with about 200,000 more people expected to move into new release areas surrounding the site it was important it be built.
He said other police stations, including at Windsor, were also located in a flood zone.
"There is a need for a new station and they do have a strategy in place in the plan to deal with floods," he said.
"We should be happy we're going to get a police station now and not in the next 20 years."
Both Mr Hazzard and the Sydney west regional planning panel did not respond to the question of why the development had been given the green light after a second assessment by time of print.