AS the dust settles on the rubble of the State Liberal party, it is worth considering what John McGrath said at a recent community forum in South Perth. John was lucky enough to retain his seat, though his margin was substantially reduced from 71.1 per cent to about 57.5 per cent.
John’s answers were delivered with enough spin to make Shane Warne proud.
John’s explanation of the Planning Minister’s decision to ignore the community view and council’s unanimous desire to place a finite limit on the height of buildings in South Perth was disingenuous. He also claimed that his lobbying of the Planning Minister to remove the 50 per cent commercial requirement was a good thing for residents.
The only thing preventing 70storey buildings in the South Perth Station Precinct was a Supreme Court decision which confirmed that the DAP had acted illegally in awarding height bonuses to developments that were not predominantly commercial.
This decision was acting as a stop-gap until the Planning Minister approved height limits that the City of South Perth and the residents had requested in Amendment 46.
But instead of doing what the residents and council had unanimously endorsed, the Planning Minister refused to re-instate height restrictions and removed the 50 per cent commercial requirement.
John claimed credit for this at the community forum whilst trying to spin it as a positive.
The reason given by the Minister for not re-instating height limits was that it would result in buildings that are all the same size. What a load of rubbish.
There’s an easy solution to that problem which exists in many other places around the world. It’s called “transferable air rights”. A cap is placed on height and if the developer wants to build higher, they can purchase their adjacent neighbour’s unused air-rights.
The truth is the developers just want to build as high as they can and not have to pay the neighbours for the amenity they are stealing.
The Liberal government and John McGrath have aided and abetted the developers’ cause, which shouldn’t come as a surprise considering Colin Barnett said in his concession speech that he wanted to be remembered for leading a “prodevelopment government”.
Don’t worry, Colin. We’ll remember you when we look at the skyscrapers next door. And we’ll remember the reason we got rid of you so emphatically. PAUL RUTHVEN, South Perth.