‘NO’ VOTE FOR SAYER ST CLO­SURE

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Front Page - By JON BAS­SETT

DE­FENCE Hous­ing Aus­tralia (DHA) man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Peter How­man says SAS sol­diers and their fam­i­lies are at risk if Ned­lands Coun­cil ig­nores WA’s bush­fire guide­lines and cuts off the west end of Sayer Street.

Last Tues­day, Ned­lands coun­cil­lors an­gered by DHA avoid­ing their plan­ning pro­cesses de­cided to in­ves­ti­gate clos­ing the west end of Sayer Street to a pro­posed DHA de­vel­op­ment of the SAS’s Seaward Vil­lage.

Swan­bourne res­i­dents op­posed to the re­de­vel­op­ment claim part of the street was ungazetted 90 years ago when it was in­cluded in the A-Class Re­serve Allen Park.

Mr How­man said any clo­sure of Sayer Street with­out first open­ing a sec­ondary ac­cess road to the vil­lage would not be in ac­cor­dance with bush­fire fight­ing and con­trol guide­lines.

“The clo­sure would be detri­men­tal to the safety and se­cu­rity of ex­ist­ing Seaward Vil­lage res­i­dents,” he said. The WA Plan­ning Com­mis­sion’s (WAPC) Bush Fire Man­age­ment Guide­lines 2014 re­quired any new com­mu­nity to have two ac­cess routes, he said.

Mr How­man said “sig­nif­i­cant” DHA work had de­ter­mined Sayer Street was the best road for the de­vel­op­ment, roads through A-Class re­serves in­clud­ing Kings and John For­rest Na­tional parks were “not un­com­mon” in WA and DHA would con­tinue with a WAPC de­vel­op­ment ap­pli­ca­tion.

Al­ter­na­tives for the DHA to Sayer Street are a route through the SAS’s Camp­bell Bar­racks that is not sup­ported by the Depart­ment of De­fence, and a new road through Allen Park from Odern Cres­cent, which the coun­cil has said it would not sup­port.

Ned­lands Mayor Max Hip­kins said A-Class routes through other parks were used by the public to get to at­trac­tions, not pri­vate hous­ing, and coun­cils and the State Gov­ern­ment would not al­low other pri­vate de­vel­op­ers to use A-Class re­serves as ac­cess routes to build­ing sites.

“DHA have got it wrong, as we are not clos­ing a road, we are in­ves­ti­gat­ing clos­ing a re­serve, and we could go in there to­mor­row with a rip­per and rip it up,” Cr Bill Has­sell said.

The Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment may try to re­sume the claimed A-Class sec­tion of the street but it needs to show the route was needed for a Com­mon­wealth public pur­pose, and get both Houses of State Par­lia­ment to sup­port con­vert­ing the street sec­tion in the re­serve to a gazetted street.

“And I’d be sur­prised if Premier Colin Bar­nett wants that fight in his back yard,” Cr Has­sell said.

SWAN­BOURNE res­i­dents seem to have some of the dogged de­ter­mi­na­tion of their SAS Reg­i­ment neigh­bours. Qui­etly, with­out fuss, with ded­i­ca­tion and dam­age ex­ceed­ing their num­bers, a small band of res­i­dents have dug into the history files and un­cov­ered the illegal sta­tus of the west end of Sayer Street lead­ing to the vil­lage De­fence Hous­ing Aus­tralia wants flat­tened. The res­i­dents have put Ned­lands coun­cil back into the plan­ning fight over Seaward Vil­lage and its neigh­bour­ing Allen Park. Whether their ef­forts stop or hin­der DHA’s plans may de­pend on WA rules about emer­gency fire ac­cess or State Gov­ern­ment sup­port for Can­berra if it wants to re­sume Sayer Street. How­ever, the res­i­dents’ ef­fort is a morale boost for any fight in­volv­ing in­di­vid­u­als and com­mu­ni­ties tack­ling bu­reau­cracy. More­over, that De­fence Hous­ing Aus­tralia should pro­pose de­mol­ish­ing a sol­diers’ haven next to a park cre­ated by a Gal­lipoli vet­eran, John Allen, in the cen­te­nary year of that con­flict, is a heavy irony not lost on most.

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