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Swan Valley Planning Review author John Kobelke with Planning Minister Rita Saffioti.

Saffioti responds to industry groups

IN response to Call for Minister to step in, (Echo News, September 15) where the industry groups urged Planning Minister Rita Saffioti to take whatever steps were necessary to stop unsuitable developments happening in the Swan Valley in the short to medium term she said interim measures were being investigated.

On September 15 the Swan Valley Tourism Alliance, Grape Growers Association of WA and the Swan Valley Winemakers Association said they had taken the unprecedented step of uniting as one to call for action after recent planning decisions taken by the City of Swan and the State Administration Tribunal (SAT), which had seriously concerned their members. 

The industry groups said they wanted to secure the long-term viability of the Swan Valley as a grape growing and wine making premier tourism destination.

Ms Saffioti said she shared concerns about protecting the Swan Valley from inappropriate development and was progressing the Swan Valley planning review as a priority.

“The current Act for the Swan Valley is insufficient – we all recognise that,’’ she said. 

“It is integral the next piece of legislation precisely identifies what is suitable for the area and what isn’t.

“In the meantime, I am looking at what interim planning measures are available to the government during this period of transition. 

“However, it is worth noting all applicants have the right to appeal decisions in the State Administrative Tribunal.

“I will be closely considering the feedback provided to the Swan Valley planning review and will present the state government’s response to the report by November.’’

The peak industry groups said examples of inappropriate developments under community purpose included rehabilitation centres and places of worship. 

But Shalom House chief executive officer Peter Lyndon-James said Shalom House was not “a rehab” it was a community. 

“We don’t believe that our presence in the valley is deterring people from visiting, it is not deterring businesses from operating, it isn’t deterring people from building and buying in the area,’’ he said. 

“For those who know who we are and where we operate, we have been welcomed and our neighbours have expressed on many occasions that they love having us next door.’’

By Anita McInnes

 

About Anita

Anita Mcinnes received a highly commended in the 2009 WA Media Awards suburban section for her reporting. Two of her sons were born at Swan District Hospital and for many years she was a partner in a small business, which operated in the Gingin-Muchea-Bullsbrook area. As a mature age student Anita studied journalism at Curtin University before working in Busselton, Dunsborough and Rockingham with West Regionals. She says the best part of her job is meeting eastern suburb residents and visiting the many attractions in the area.

One comment

  1. The best thing that could happen for the SV is to get rid of these self interest groups. The SV is pathetic as a tourist destination now and if these groups get their way it will degenerate further.
    There’s more to tourism than grapes, wine, and unkempt verges. The place is a disgrace.
    There’s a handful of professional outfits operating there and that’s all.
    The City of Swan should get off it’s high horse and contract Shalom House to maintain the verges, that would be good start towards smartening the place up.

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