THE use of a small reserve will be amended to allow the Shire of Mundaring to earn profits from a telecommunications tower in Wooroloo.
The Council’s approval of a National Broadband Network telecommunications tower in January saw the management of the land transferred from the Shire to the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage (DPLH), effectively taking the rental earnings away from the Shire.
At its June meeting, president John Daw said the cash could be better spent in the community and Council resolved not to provide its consent to the excision of land to the DPLH.
In follow-up to the decision, chief executive Jonathan Throssell requested a meeting with Minister for Lands Rita Saffioti, who was unavailable and instead met with the assistant director general and the metropolitan case management acting manager in November.
The conclusion of the discussion left the Shire with three options.
One, to purchase the land, two, amend the reserve’s purpose to include a telecommunications facility, or three, excision the portion and lease it from the State at half rent.
Staff recommended the second option as it had the least cost with the most financial benefit.
Item mover councillor Stephen Fox said the recommendation was the only way forward.
“We’ve tackled this subject several times – this is an eloquent solution.
“The benefit will be phenomenal because we have several other reserves in the area that would benefit as the income from this reserve can go into them.”
A condition of the agreement would mean any funds from the lease would be spent on the reserve’s maintenance and any surplus profits spent on other reserves in the Shire.
Shire president John Daw said staff had worked hard to hold onto the asset.
“I did say we would go hell-for-leather,” he said.
“We had a lot of trouble getting through on this but eventually the chief executive got onto the head of the Department of Lands.
“Now we get the money rather than the State for a reserve that we’ve looked after for more than 100 years.”
The tower is one of five separate applications for NBN installations in Parkerville, Chidlow, Stoneville, and two in Wooroloo.
This final application was first proposed to be located on a site needing extensive native vegetation clearing in January 2016 and so the current site, bounded by Mayo Road to the south and Bailup Road to the east was put forward as an alternative.
The chief executive will now negotiate a lease agreement with the telecommunications provider pending the Minister’s approval of the reserve amendment.