HOLD THE LINE

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Opinion -

LET me first de­clare an in­ter­est as a per­son who is in­volved in the land de­vel­op­ment in­dus­try, but I have no vested in­ter­est in apart­ment de­vel­op­ment.

My con­tri­bu­tion is to the de­bate on residential den­sity and in par­tic­u­lar the South Perth Penin­sula precinct.

Perth is grow­ing and on the best ev­i­dence will con­tinue to grow. It can­not con­tinue to grow out­wards at the rate we have his­tor­i­cally and there­fore in­creas­ing den­sity is nec­es­sary; in­deed, there is no choice.

Ac­com­mo­dat­ing den­sity means a multi-pronged ap­proach: smaller lots in new sub-di­vi­sions and es­tab­lished ar­eas, medium den­sity in outer, mid­dle and in­ner sub­urbs as well as high den­sity where ap­pro­pri­ate.

Suc­cess­ful high den­sity re­quires ac­cess to amenity, green spa­ces, buf­fers to lower den­sity ar­eas, trans­port op­tions as well as em­ploy­ment sources.

The Penin­sula has all these el­e­ments. The buf­fer cre­ated by Richard­son Park, the Perth Zoo and Sir James Mitchell Park pro­vides a unique op­por­tu­nity for the tran­si­tion of its present medium-den­sity sta­tus to a true high-den­sity area.

Perth just does not have many op­por­tu­ni­ties for high-den­sity residential liv­ing. Den­sity in all its forms is the pointy end of a grow­ing Perth, and “not in my back yard” groups can­not be al­lowed to pre­vail on such big-pic­ture is­sues.

It is ironic that many ex­ist­ing res­i­dents who live in eight to 10storey apart­ments in the Penin­sula are com­plain­ing about the prospect of 30-storey de­vel­op­ments.

Their ar­gu­ments such as loss of views, over­look­ing, in­creased traf­fic and loss of com­mu­nity would be the same is­sues as those raised some decades ago when these eight to 10-storey apart­ments were built next to sin­gle-storey houses or town­houses in this area.

I do not blame these res­i­dents for their op­po­si­tion; self-in­ter­est is a strong mo­ti­va­tor and they are ab­so­lutely en­ti­tled to ex­press their view.

But our pol­icy mak­ers must hold the line. The or­derly plan­ning of a grow­ing Perth re­quires a medium and long-term view that can­not be de­railed by lo­cal in­ter­ests.

Once the town plan­ning scheme frame­work is in place it must be fol­lowed and not frus­trated by rear­guard lo­cal in­ter­ests.

LYLE KENNY, Water­ford.

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