Build­ing case on art

BGC ASKS FOR PAY­MENT EX­EMP­TION

Kalamunda Reporter - - Front Page - Lau­ren Pi­lat

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.

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