Call to re­cost hous­ing pro­ject

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News - By JON BAS­SETT

THE re­viewer of the con­tro­ver­sial Seaward Vil­lage re­de­vel­op­ment wants De­fence Hous­ing Aus­tralia (DHA) to re­cost its con­tro­ver­sial pro­posal to sell new civil­ian hous­ing blocks in a fall­ing mar­ket at the SAS vil­lage in Swan­bourne.

“So it’s go­ing to be more dif­fi­cult for DHA to meet what they al­ready claim is their loss, and it will be greater than 12 months ago,” re­tired Lieu­tenant-Gen­eral Mark Evans said af­ter meet­ing about 80 ratepay­ers op­posed to the DHA plans at Ned­lands Ten­nis Club last Thurs­day.

Last year, DHA said the pro­ject, that pro­poses flat­ten­ing half the 22ha vil­lage for 165 civil­ian homes, could have a $25 mil­lion short­fall.

Lt-Gen Evans said he had di­rected DHA to work on new costs and pro­vide other op­tions for the vil­lage last week.

His re­view com­pares re­fur­bish­ing vil­lage homes in­stead of re­de­vel­op­ment, the se­cu­rity of hav­ing civil­ian homes 300m from the SAS’ Camp­bell Bar­racks, the pro­posal’s so­cial im­pact and any fu­ture covenant for the site next to Allen Park.

Friends of Allen Park mem­ber and meet­ing chair­man Michael An­der­son said land for the vil­lage and bar­racks was gifted to the Depart­ment of De­fence only for de­fence needs – not pri­vate de­vel­op­ment – be­fore it was given to DHA, which was not us­ing it for its in­tended pur­pose.

Swan­bourne Coastal Al­liance con­venor Jean-Paul Orsini said a covenant may be lifted a se­cond time to sell more land if DHA “had a $50 mil­lion hole in its bal­ance sheets” and could not re­coup the pro­ject’s ini­tial Fed­eral Govern­ment fund­ing.

Lt-Gen Evans said only the Depart­ment of De­fence could lift the covenant and he was do­ing risk as­sess­ments on the pro­posed re­de­vel­op­ment’s busi­ness case, its en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact and the strate­gic and tac­ti­cal im­pli­ca­tions of the pro­ject.

He also met SAS wives, the Aus­tralian SAS As­so­ci­a­tion, WA Plan­ning Com­mis­sion and Curtin MHR Julie Bishop, be­fore meet­ing Friends of Allen Park and res­i­dents at Melon Hill last Tues­day.

Af­ter the meet­ings, there were con­cerns in the com­mu­nity about re­view team mem­ber and Depart­ment of De­fence act­ing as­sis­tant sec­re­tary of es­tate sup­port Alan McClel­land, in­clud­ing his per­ceived con­nec­tion to early DHA in­for­ma­tion ses­sions at the Ocean Beach Ho­tel.

Mr McClel­land said he worked for the Depart­ment of De­fence and was part of the re­view team help­ing LtGen Evans.

The re­port is due by Fe­bru­ary 29.

Pic­ture: Jon Bas­sett

Lt-Gen Mark Evans (in tie) dis­cussing with res­i­dents and en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists on Melon Hill the im­pact of Seaward Vil­lage re­de­vel­op­ment last Tues­day.

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