DAR­LING DIS­GRACE

Avon Valley Gazette - - OPINION -

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.

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