CHARLIE Zannino has been appointed chairman of the Swan Valley Planning Committee.
Planning Minister Rita Saffioti said Cr Zannino had been appointed due to the length of time he had been a councillor and a representative for people in the Swan Valley.
Echo News understand he had to have his appointment approved by Cabinet before he could be notified.
Ms Saffioti has also approved an extension of time to lodge comments on the Swan Valley planning review after feedback.
Cr Zanninio, who is also a City of Swan councillor for the Swan Valley Gidge-gannup ward, said at the June meeting of the Swan Valley Planning Committee members had all agreed due to the importance of the review it would be a good idea to have the time for comments to be lodged extended.
He said he wrote to Ms Saffioti who agreed to an extension.
The Swan Valley planning review has been prepared by former Labor minister John Kobelke.
Ms Saffioti said Mr Kobelke was appointed in August 2017 to independently review the planning framework for the Swan Valley.
He met with more than 50 Swan Valley community stakeholders and various agencies in one-on-one consultations and oversaw a survey of Swan Valley land-owners and residents which received 628 responses.
The recommendations detailed in Mr Kobelke’s report extend beyond the planning portfolio to focus on potential measures to protect and promote the Swan Valley as a unique place for viticulture and tourism.
Comments received on the report will inform the Ms Saffioti’s resolution of land use planning in the Swan Valley region.
An introduction to the Swan Valley at the start of the report says the Swan Valley is a unique and valued part of Perth’s natural and cultural landscape.
“Its rivers, fresh water lakes and fertile soils at the foot of the Darling Escarpment have sustained Aboriginal communities for thousands of years and provided ideal conditions for the establishment of one of the oldest wine producing regions in Australia,’’ the report said.
“Today the Swan Valley is recognised not only for its heritage and viticulture, but also for its rural character, its varied agriculture, and its attraction to visitors and tourists as a welcome escape from the city.
“In 1995, the state government established the Swan Valley Planning Act to protect these characteristics and ensure the area is preserved for future generations.
“It is now estimated that the Swan Valley attracts more than 2 million visitors per year and contributes $350 million annually to the Western Australian economy.
“Notwithstanding this, the area is under increasing pressure from incompatible development and land use, putting at risk the attributes and characteristics that make the Swan Valley an attractive and desirable place.
The extract from the draft Swan Valley Development Plan 2015 recognised the importance of the Swan Valley and the pressures it was facing, which was still valid today.
By Anita McInnes