By Breanna Inferrera
A DECISION to reopen Chalet Rigi restaurant with an increased capacity has been put on hold to allow the community – and councillors – more time to read and understand the associated reports.
At Tuesday night’s special council meeting, City of Kalamunda councillors put aside an officer’s recommendation to approve the development application (DA), which would increase the capacity of the restaurant from 80 to 480 patrons and employees per day.
Deputy mayor Dylan O’Connor moved the motion to adjourn the meeting to June 2, saying it would allow for greater understanding of the associated report and attachments.
“Given the feedback we’ve received from the community prior to tonight’s meeting via emails and phone calls and the issues raised through deputations this evening, I think it’s appropriate we adjourn this meeting tonight,” Cr O’Connor said.
“This will allow the community and councillors more time to read and understand the report and attachments.”
The delay doesn’t come as a surprise to the owner of the historic Piesse Brook restaurant, Mack McCormack, who says he’s been trying to reopen Chalet Rigi for 14 years but has been stuck in red tape and bureaucracy.
In Rigi gets ministerial tick of approval (Echo News, July 27, 2019), Health Minister Roger Cook granted an exemption from the sewer requirement and approved an onsite wastewater system, subject to conditions imposed by the Department of Health.
In September 2019, Mr McCormack said he was issued a stop work notice during the installation of the system.
“It’s taken us five years to get this system approved and now I’ve been issued with a stop work notice and threatened with $1 million worth of fines,” Mr McCormack said at the time.
“I have a 55-page approval order and City officers are saying we don’t have the planning approval to install the system.”
According to the officer’s report at Tuesday night’s meeting, in addition to the DA being publicly advertised to landowners and occupiers in July 2019, the City sought ongoing comment on multiple versions of the DA from four State Government departments, including the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER).
DWER and the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) do not support the development over water contamination and bushfire risk respectively, with DFES requesting more information and further modifications.
Out of the 67 submissions received by the City from landowners and occupiers during public consultation, 56 were opposed to the development, with main concerns including traffic impacts, noise from the restaurant, bushfire risk, water contamination, and the proposed scale of the restaurant not being consistent with the locality.
A petition against the DA with 82 signatures was also received by the City.
These views were similarly reflected in a whopping 11 deputations at Tuesday night’s meeting, with a number of speakers for and against the DA, including Mr McCormack himself, who asked for council’s support because he was a “resident of the City, a local businessman, and fully compliant with all acts, regulations and the law”.
Mr McCormack told Echo News he was the closest resident to Chalet Rigi.
“It’s not unique for residents to say, ‘not in my backyard’,” he said.
“I live next door and I wouldn’t be building this to upset this beautiful area.”
The associated report and attachments are available on the City’s website.