Height of ab­sur­dity


Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Front Page - Tim Mayne

SWAN MHR Steve Irons has lashed out at what he de­scribes as “un­fair, con­tra­dic­tory and il­log­i­cal plan­ning prac­tices” in his elec­torate and across WA.

In a speech last week to the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, Mr Irons crit­i­cised the City of South Perth’s plan­ning pro­cesses and staff, in­clud­ing the chief ex­ec­u­tive.

Mr Irons used the pro­posed 29-storey tower devel­op­ment at 74 Mill Point Road in South Perth as an ex­am­ple, which he said was given “rub­ber stamp” ap­proval by the Metro Cen­tral Joint De­velop As­sess­ment Panel (JDAP) on May 25.

Mr Irons said he un­der­stood ratepay­ers’ frus­tra­tion at the de­ci­sion, par­tic­u­larly when they could not get coun­cil plan­ning ap­proval for what he de­scribed as rel­a­tively mi­nor changes to homes.

Mr Irons de­clared in his speech that wife Ch­eryle Irons was a coun­cil­lor for the Mill Point ward, where the pro­posed 29storey build­ing will be lo­cated.

South Perth res­i­dents, who had pre­vi­ously stated their ob­jec­tion to the pro­posed devel­op­ment, were fu­ri­ous at news it had been given ap­proval.

Mill Point Road res­i­dent Vicki Red­den said she was an­gry and dis­il­lu­sioned at what she de­scribed as ratepay­ers be­ing mis­led.

“The public con­sul­ta­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tions were a farce.” Ms Red­den said.

“The sta­tion precinct plan is a farce and the plan­ning process within the coun­cil of­fice is a farce.

“(CEO) Cliff Frew­ing and the whole South Perth plan­ning depart­ment should re­sign in shame.”

The City of South Perth said a ratepay­ers’ meet­ing in early May was de­signed to en­able res­i­dents to ex­press their opin­ions to coun­cil on the Mill Point Road devel­op­ment and area as a whole.

But South Perth res­i­dent Greg Benjamin said the com­mu­nity had been duped.

“No con­sid­er­a­tion was given by JDAP to the out­come of the well-at­tended public meet­ing,” he said.

“It was too late; the pro-devel­op­ment lobby has ex­ploited loose lan­guage in the amended town plan­ning scheme for their own in­ter­ests.”

Many res­i­dents said they thought that un­der the scheme there were strict height re­stric­tions on build­ing in the South Perth re­gion.

The City of South Perth said while it was in­cred­i­bly dis­ap­pointed that the JDAP dis­missed com­mu­nity feed­back, the ul­ti­mate re­spon­si­bil­ity lay with the State Gov­ern­ment.

“The State Gov­ern­ment has man­dated that Devel­op­ment As­sess­ment Pan­els re­place coun­cil in the de­ci­sion-mak­ing process for de­vel­op­ments over $10 mil­lion,” South Perth Mayor Sue Do­herty said.

“Coun­cil can only pro­vide their rec­om­men­da­tion to the JDAP for con­sid­er­a­tion, deny­ing coun­cil any de­ci­sion-mak­ing ca­pac­ity.”

South Perth MLA John McGrath said un­for­tu­nately, with a devel­op­ment of this size, the coun­cil had its hands tied.

“Plan­ning law now re­quires a project of this value to be determined by the JDAP, so coun­cil has no de­ci­sion-mak­ing role,” he said.

Pic­ture: City of South Perth

An artist's im­pres­sion of the pro­posed devel­op­ment at 74 Mill Point Road, South Perth.

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