WITH the words of our National Anthem still ringing in our ears on Australia Day – “Our land abounds in natures gifts of beauties rich and rare” – the WA Planning Minister, obviously badly briefed by her Department, chooses to insult us for blatantly wrong- headed political reasons by announcing rezoning part of the Darling Range National Park ( Crown land ) to be cleared for another lifestyle retirement village.
Any reader of this newspaper can see every weekend for the past year there has been a continuing surplus of around 50 vacant such lifestyle retirement village units in the Kalamunda Shire ranging from $ 185,000 to $ 400,000.
She mistakenly assumes that this attack on the Darling Range National Park will play well with older conservative voters who seek aged care provision, not residential units.
The two are not synonymous and there is plenty of evidence that aged care facilities do not need to be single storey or large sites.
The Minister would be far better advised to give serious attention to management of planning in WA that is hopelessly deficient in relevant expertise to confront increasing population and social change in the Perth and Peel regions.
The present planning system habitually operates by issuing narrowly conceived detached ‘ statutory planning’ policies without having any direct contact or relevant expertise to assess either the land or community circumstances to which it relates.
Furthermore, avoiding the fact that actual planning is now abandoned to local authorities, who do not actually plan at all but simply implement the theoretical ‘ statutory planning’ edicts of a Planning Commission.
That is the primary reason why vast tracts of land in suburban Perth have been mindlessly bulldozed, cleared of inherent, often internationally unique bio- diverse scenery, and replaced by cramped anti- social urban sprawls of minimal comprehensive socially responsive or design planning value. PETER FORREST, Kalamunda.