Council Act encourages a liberal approach
HAVING followed the “debate” between Colin Latchem and Nedlands Councillor John Weatherall over the past two or three weeks regarding the City of Nedlands Town Planning Scheme and proposed changes to it, I would like to add my own views on the matter.
After checking the Local Government Act, I have a couple of thoughts. The functions of local government are specified in the Act as: 3.1. General function (1) The general function of a local government is to provide for the good government of persons in its district.
(2) The scope of the general function of a local government is to be construed in the context of its other functions under this Act or any other written law and any constraints imposed by this Act or any other written law on the performance of its functions.
(3) A liberal approach is to be taken to the construction of the scope of the general function of a local government. That is all the Act says. Note (3) encourages a liberal approach to functions. If a council believes something is desirable for the good government of its residents, it is encouraged to do it.
Property rights are not a constraint – if they were, there would be no town planning, which specifies permitted uses, building setbacks and so forth.
There are mechanisms to prevent unreasonable council decisions – a parliamentary committee to review local laws, the SAT to review planning decisions and the court system to test grievances.
Having built a new residence in Nedlands about 10 years ago, I would have to say that the town planning arrangements adopted by our council have always seemed fair enough.
I make this comment even though council required us to reduce our planned footprint by just three quarters of one square metre.
Any development should fit with the expectations of the community. It is to be expected that rules will change from time to time as knowledge increases, technological improvements are adopted and community attitudes evolve.
In my opinion, the present council has over the recent five-six years listened to the community in spite of Councillor Weatherall’s social engineering views as expressed by him over the past two weeks or so.
Ken Eastwood, Nedlands.