The proposed roadhouse on Neaves Road will operate 24hr a day.

JDAP approval overlooks groundwater issues

DBCA say given the current decrease in the superficial and underlying aquifer any local groundwater use has potential to further impact on the TEC.
January 18, 2024
Anita McInnes

A ROADHOUSE proposed for Lot 31 (1487) Neaves Road has been approved by the Metro Outer joint development assessment panel despite the majority of City of Swan councillors last month recommending JDAP reject the plan.

On Tuesday, January 16 the two City of Swan councillors on the Metro Outer JDAP – Charlie Zannino and Rod Henderson – voted for the 24hr roadhouse with only the JDAP third specialist member John Syme voting against it.

North Swan Land Conservation District Committee chairman Richard Janes, who attended the meeting said Mr Syme was very clear on his reasons – based on environmental concerns – for rejecting the proposal.

Mr Janes said the JDAP adopted all the conditions the city had put in the responsible authority report (RAR) presented to the council in December, which did not include responses from the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) or the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER), which had both been given a deadline of January 3 to respond.

The RAR said the site was in a sewerage sensitive area, within 1km of significant wetlands and within 1km of groundwater dependant threatened and priority ecological communities.

“The proposed development is within the buffer of an occurrence of the critically endangered threatened ecological community ‘communities of Tumulus Springs’ which is located about 300m to the east,’’ the RAR said.

At the December meeting a Bullsbrook resident raised concerns about the threatened ecological community (TEC) and that there was a recommendation that a detailed water management plan be submitted, which had not been done.

She said her groundwater came directly from that area and as a resident she wanted to know that the ground water was going to be protected and that a water management plan was put in place.

The city’s statutory planning manager Phil Russell said they expected to receive advice back from the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) on the water management issue and while it had not been available for the report to the council the presiding member of the joint development assessment panel had requested the information be provided when it came in and it would be part of the reconsideration by the JDAP.

A letter from the DBCA – which did not appear in full in the RAR –  to the City of Swan dated February 1, 2023 said further monitoring of the groundwater levels and quality between the proposal area and the TEC by the proponent was required to demonstrate the proposed development would not impact on the TEC.

“Given the current decrease in the superficial and underlying aquifer any local groundwater use has potential to further impact on the TEC,’’ the letter said.

A Planning Solutions letter included in the RAR said ground water monitoring had been undertaken, which had established the highest groundwater levels are lower than initially presumed.

In order to provide additional supporting information for the application, Emerge were engaged to undertake groundwater monitoring for the application area to be able to establish the groundwater levels beneath the existing ground surface.

“Groundwater flow direction has been determined to be in a southerly direction, which would mean that the risk of groundwater any impacts (quality or levels) on the mound springs community at least 350m to the east of the application area is unlikely,” the Emerge report said.

“Not only are the mound springs community occurrences reasonably separated from the proposed use, but the groundwater flow is not moving in the direction of the mound springs community from the application area.’’

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