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Residents were concerned a feasibility study would mean industrial areas would spring up in Wattle Grove.

Consultation in wake of Wattle Grove backlash

THE City of Kalamunda has backed away from forging ahead with the potential rezoning of a portion of Wattle Grove, instead electing to engage in extensive community consultation following a backlash from local residents.

The backlash was prompted when the community caught wind of a feasibility study into the potential industrial rezoning of a section of Wattle Grove.

The study was largely mandated by the March 2018 adoption of the Western Australian Planning Commission’s North-East Sub-regional Planning Framework, a 94-page document that aims to establish a long-term, integrated planning framework for land use and infrastructure to guide future growth across the sub-region.

Wattle Grove is specifically identified in the document as an urban investigation area that required further detailed planning prior to consideration for any rezoning.

However it is also listed, in a sub section entitled Industrial centres, as a location that has been identified for potential future general industrial use.

Despite the release date of the NESPF, the City had been working on the feasibility plan since September 2017 – without consulting residents in the area.

The officer’s comment noted that despite the site being identified as urban expansion, land zoned light industry or industrial development can be allocated under an Urban Metropolitan Regional Scheme zoning.

The recommendation was to continue with the next phase of planning based on three recommended options detailing the boundary, land use and statutory processes, with the land use to be residential and industrial development.

However acting Mayor Dylan O’Connor moved an alternative motion to commence immediately with community consultation before proceeding any further, which  was passed by council unanimously.

While community consultation is not a statutory requirement for a feasibility study, in his reasoning for his alternate motion acting Mayor Dylan O’Connor admitted the City had possibly erred by not consulting or notifying the community regarding the study.

Kalamunda Ratepayers Association member Nat Coppin said the decision couldn’t be described as a win for Wattle Grove residents.

“It’s too early to say it’s a win, it’s just part of the process,” he said.

“Unfortunately the City of Kalamunda have a history of making decisions without adequate community consultation, but that said they have improved their consultation process over the last twelve months.

“It was a wise decision to defer it for public comment because it is a passionate issue, but I think given that the state government is willing to invest money in tourism within the hills and that particular area is seen as a bit of a gateway to the hills… to put an industrial area or to turn it into high density residential is a mistake.”

Echo News sent the City of Kalamunda questions regarding the potential rezoning, community consultation and the process moving forward.

The City failed to respond to the questions by deadline.

About Liam Ducey

Liam Ducey is an experienced journalist, having worked in print media in Kalgoorlie, Esperance, Port Hedland, Bunbury and across the metropolitan area, as well as online for several Fairfax Media mastheads. His reporting has seen him awarded the 2013 Clubs WA award for Best Club Media Story and the Western Australian Football Commission Umpiring Media Award in 2014. He was a finalist in three categories in the 2018 WA Media Awards and is not at all salty that he didn't win at least one. He's recently had a baby girl, Emilia, with his wife Roselyn and has lost all concept of time and sleep.

2 comments

  1. I have lived in east Wattle Grove since 1989 on a semi rural hectare with trees I planted and an architect built home!
    Now that the Shire of Kalamunda have turned the knife on us and also stabbed them selves in the process, how can they promote tourism in the hills while the entrance to Kalamunda is through industrial land and urban developments just like all those suberbs littered w/ new postage stamps houses instead of the green lungs that promotes the health of the city of Perth!
    Where is logic & justice went??

    • I agree with you, it is no consolation but it is a common problem throughout. POS being destroyed for poorly thought out projects which would have better elsewhere.

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