Coun­cil Act en­cour­ages a lib­eral ap­proach

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Western Opinion -

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.

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