By Claire Ottaviano
ANOTHER proposed development has been rejected by Shire of Mundaring council for not complying with State planning guidelines for building in extreme bushfire prone areas.
At last week’s council meeting, a motion to recommend the Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC) approve a proposal to subdivide eight lots into 23 failed to gain the majority vote of council.
Instead, council voted 8/2 to recommend the WAPC not approve the John Forrest National Park abutting Structure Plan 78 (SP78) near Viveash and Tunnel Roads in Swan View.
Council sided with Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) concerns that a proposed cul-de-sac and several battleaxe blocks were not favoured in bushfire prone areas because they limited access in different directions for residents escaping fire.
The report noted that DFES’ above-mentioned concerns could be addressed subject to conditional approval and did not represent any “fatal flaws” with the proposal.
Council’s alternative motion said approving SP78 would be at odds with planning in extreme bush fire prone areas noting its proximity to the national park.
“We could see in the report that DFES had issues,” Cr James Martin said.
“From a background point of view, considering what we’ve been trying to do as a Shire to open up cul-de-sacs, this would be a step backwards.”
The recommended rejection of SP78 comes 14 months after council rejected the much larger 1410-lot North Stoneville Structure Plan 34 (SP34), also on bushfire risk grounds.
Cr Doug Jeans said council should wait for the outcomes of the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements, due next week, before making any decisions on new structure plan proposals.
“The fact it [SP78] abuts John Forrest National Park, fires know no boundaries,” he said.
“It’s important we wait for the process of new planning guidelines that will come out of the royal commission.
“Those will give us the guidance for future subdivision of these areas.”
If the WAPC does support SP78, council suggested an extensive list of conditions including a revised bushfire management plan and protection of native plant species.
See also from the same edition.