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