TOR­TURE TOWERS

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - OPINION -

I HAVE re­turned from the Christ­mas break to dis­cover with dis­may and dis­gust that Lib­eral Plan­ning Min­is­ter Donna Faragher left it un­til nine days be­fore the dis­trac­tion of Christ­mas to make an an­nounce­ment which ba­si­cally ig­nores the rec­om­mended mod­i­fied Town Plan­ning Scheme Amend­ment No. 46 ‘South Perth Sta­tion Precinct’.

This, af­ter ex­ten­sive com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion, was unan­i­mously passed by the City of South Perth Coun­cil meet­ing held on April 26, 2016, and would have capped tower heights at about 26 sto­ries.

City of South Perth res­i­dents were clearly duped when pre­vi­ous town plan­ning scheme changes were ap­proved in 2014 to per­mit the de­vel­op­ment of build­ings with no max­i­mum heights.

It is disin­gen­u­ous to say the com­mu­nity agreed to these changes. The so-called con­sul­ta­tion process was mis­lead­ing and de­cep­tive.

De­spite the dressed up lan­guage of the me­dia state­ment, the Min­is­ter has yielded to pres­sure from prop­erty de­vel­op­ers.

Ab­so­lute height lim­its are not pre­scribed.

The door is still open for de­vel­op­ment ap­pli­ca­tions in the precinct now for 50 storeys... with more to come!

Con­trary to the coun­cil rec­om­men­da­tions, the Min­is­ter has main­tained the ‘Spe­cial De­sign Area’ ,which in­cludes the con­tentious DAP ap­proved 34-storey build­ing at 74 Mill Point Road in an area pre­vi­ously limited to eight sto­ries.

That it took the Min­is­ter eight months to make a de­ci­sion has aided the bi­ased DAP, which pre­vi­ously re­jected a 44-storey build­ing on the same site.

Many now have the scars of a de­vel­op­ment ap­pli­ca­tion process that gives to­ken con­sid­er­a­tion to lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties.

To chal­lenge can be ex­traor­di­nar­ily time con­sum­ing and ex­pen­sive. The sys­tem is de­signed to wear lo­cals out, leav­ing them with feel­ings of be­ing ig­nored, an­gry, jaded and dis­en­fran­chised.

Un­der­stand­ably, there is a sig­nif­i­cant move­ment across Perth to scrap the flawed DAP process and to protest vote at the next State elec­tion on March 11.

I join many who have con­cerns of con­tin­ued mega-high rise de­vel­op­ment in South Perth, pred­i­cated on a sta­tion un­likely to be built in 10 or even 20 years, with likely im­pacts con­cern­ing ex­cess pop­u­la­tion den­sity, in­fra­struc­ture prob­lems, ground sub­si­dence, ex­ten­sive shad­ow­ing, gen­uine lack of con­sid­er­a­tion to lo­cal res­i­dents and, in par­tic­u­lar fu­ture traf­fic chaos. GREG BEN­JAMIN, South Perth

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