By Melissa Sheil
THE fiery long-standing debate on the rezoning of Wattle Grove South will soon be re-sparked, as private developers seek approval to rezone the area.
At Kalamunda council’s public agenda briefing on Tuesday, it was revealed Perth developer Hesperia Projects had proposed the idea of rezoning a 180ha rural section of Wattle Grove to urban for a housing development.
The item will come before council on August 24, where councillors will debate whether to endorse City commentary on the proposal.
Wattle Grove resident Diane Wilkie made a statement in support of rezoning.
“This issue has gone on for years, with lots of discussion without any resolution,” she said.
“This has lead to a lot of uncertainty for many residents about how we can plan our futures.
“I’m very pleased that the day may have finally arrived where we can move forward.”
However, opposition to the idea of development has been voiced by local environmentalist group EcoVision, who are concerned about the ecological impact of building in the region.
The Wattle Grove South area has attracted much controversy over recent years, with the community bitterly divided over whether development should occur or not.
In November 2020, council voted to cease further concept planning due to community division.
Those in support of future development warned this cessation could leave the door open for private developers to come in on their own and potentially bypass the City, leaving someone else controlling the reins.
Hesperia Projects director Judd Dyer said the development would be created with the environment as a focal point and would utilise the City’s original concept plan.
“The Crystal Brook concept plan is the approach we want to adopt,” he said.
“We were initially introduced to this area by landowners who are interested in developing their land and we wish to move forward with the whole community in the most sustainable way possible.
“We like doing projects that are difficult.”
However, in its draft submission, City staff noted the risk of undervaluing the remaining tree canopy, food sources, fauna populations, and the limited capacity of its ecological report.
Mr Dyer said though it was still very early days, the development would include about 1000 lots in a mix of sizes, ranging from 800 to 900sqm blocks to townhouses.
He also stated he believed they had support from at least 80 per cent of landowners in the area.