Building case on art
BGC ASKS FOR PAYMENT EXEMPTION
CONSTRUCTION material company BGC is being forced to pay at least $50,500 for public art as part of its multimillion-dollar development at its Hazelmere site.
The City of Swan gave approval to BGC last year to develop a $5.05 million asphalt facility on its industrial site at Bushmead Road, Stirling Crescent and Lakes Road.
A condition of approval was that the company paid the City at least $50,500 in lieu of on-site public art, or install public art worth that amount.
On behalf of BGC, applicant Rowe Group applied to remove that condition but last month members of the Metro East Joint Development Assessment Panel voted 3-2 to keep it.
Representing the company, lawyer Michael Hotchkin said there was no public element to the site and it had no public access.
He said if the City’s public art policy stood as is, all industrial sites would need public art, which was “ridiculous”.
“It’s not a condition that is relevant to this development,” he said.
“No one can see it (the public art) other than the people working there.”
According to a City report, the addition of an asphalt facility to the 18.58ha “highly visible” site would increase the number and frequency of employees and visitors while having a wider impact on the surrounding area.
Mr Hotchkin said the additional industrial use of the site would increase employee numbers by about only six, which he believed did not facilitate the need for public art.
City officer Philip Russell said the site “absolutely” did warrant public art, whether the development was publicly visible or not.
Councillor Charlie Zannino acknowledged the development was landlocked and said although it was set back about 100m from the road, the art could be placed elsewhere on the site.
“We need to be consistent and if we approved the removal of the policy on this occasion, we would be opening up a can of worms,” he said.
Cr Rod Henderson said the policy had gaps and in this circumstance the actual expansion would have no further community impact and therefore did not warrant the need for public art.
Mr Hotchkin lodged an application this month to have the decision reviewed by the State Administration Tribunal.