By Claire Ottaviano
SHADY Hills residents will be able to breathe a little easier coming up to the 2022/23 bushfire season after a funding agreement for a secondary access road in and out of the bushfire prone estate was approved.
While the issue of a second access road has been considered by the City of Swan previously, an opportunity for the $5 million road to be built as part of a proposed subdivision saw it back in front of Swan Council last week.
Despite a financial backing of $1.9 million from the State Government and a 43 per cent contribution from the landowner, some councillors expressed doubt.
Volunteer firefighter and resident Shirley Routley said access issues could cost lives.
“Developer contribution is under threat if Council does not approve this recommendation as the partnership between the landowners and developer hinges on this approval,” she said.
“Further delays in commitment to these proposals will mean that the new subdivision may be shelved and Council will need to fund the entire cost of building the road.”
Richard Atkins of McRae Investments presented on behalf of the landowners.
“Finalising this agreement is critical so we can move forward with the detailed survey, design and tending and confirm construction costs to start in January,” he said.
“A delay tonight will push this project back by a year and Qube (the developer) may walk away from the deal.”
The motion successfully passed 14/1 with Cr Jennifer Catalano against.
Cr Catalano said the City should weigh up the risk at Shady Hills versus other risk sites, using the intersection of Altone Road and Amazon Drive as an example.
“I am concerned about the cost to the City of approving this and I think we need to look at the risk very expensive projects pose to our ratepayers and residents,” she said.
“Unfortunately, tonight I’m going to have to say in comparison there’s more people at risk at that intersection right now and funds would be better allocated elsewhere.”
Deputy Mayor David Lucas disagreed.
“Shady Hills was approved against wishes of the City… We didn’t support that it only had one road in and one road out,” he said.
“Over the years I think the people of Shady Hills have been lucky, they’ve dodged bullets but their luck is going to run out.
“To compare the intersection of Altone Road and Amazon Drive as a major risk compared to possibly fatalities from a bushfire, there’s no comparison.”
The Shady Hills Estate subdivision was approved in 2006, at which time there were no specific guidelines on mandatory secondary access.