By Melissa Sheil
A BLUEPRINT for the sustainable expansion of the Pickering Brook townsite has excited residents pushing for tourism growth in the area.
Last week, phase one of a two-phase report on the sustainable future planning of the townsite was endorsed by the Pickering Brook Taskforce and State government.
The report recommends a 14ha expansion of the townsite, rezoning the land from rural to urban and a review of water, sewerage and bushfire management plans.
Pickering Brook resident Sue Marchesano said she had been waiting 30 years for the expansion.
“So many residents and businesses are leaving our community because it is dying, and we desperately need to diversify and get some new tourism in here,” she said.
“All you need is the right person to listen to you, so we are very grateful to those that finally have.”
Carmel resident Bob Melville said he felt pleas for flexibility in the townsite had gone unheard for many years.
“I’d say at least 75 to 80 per cent of the community support us on this but [the government] has only just started to recognise we might have a point,” he said.
“I had to go to court twice just to get my 12ha property subdivided into two 6ha blocks and get approval for my café so tourists could look out at our wonderful views.”
Report working group chairman and Kalamunda MLA Matthew Hughes said keeping the rural character of the area while rezoning it to urban was a priority.
“Our recommendations point the way for the sustainable and measured expansion of Pickering Brook that will protect the character of the town,” he said.
“The working group was well aware of how important this undertaking has been to the local community, so we have ensured landowner and community views and expectations were considered.”
Phase two of the report will include discussing potential tourism uses, identify opportunities for new and existing agritourism and facilitate sustainable tourism growth in the Pickering Brook and surrounds area.
It is anticipated to be released in early 2021.