“LIKE termites in blocks of flats” is Subiaco councillor and independent state candidate Julie Matheson’s description of apartment dwellers.
Ms Matheson made the comment during a tit-for-tat debate on the Voice’s Facebook page with Perth councillor Reece Harley over new plans for a seven-storey apartment block on the Inglewood section of Beaufort Street.
“Looks good. Seven storeys is the height of much of Paris,” Cr Harley wrote of the Doepel March Architects design.
“We can develop boulevards throughout the metro area that take this kind of density and reduce pressure on infill in existing single storey suburbs.”
But Ms Matheson, an ardent critic of state-controlled development assessment panels which she sees as a lax gatekeeper waving through over-sized apartment projects, disagreed: ”If you want Paris, go to Paris. We are Perth and don’t want to live like termites in blocks of flats.”
Mr Harley, who lives in an apartment himself, says; “we are not termites, we simply desire to live in good areas and smaller spaces. Not everyone can afford to live in a large federation property a stone’s throw from the city and Kings Park.
“Families with tighter budgets deserve to be able to live in good areas as well. Well designed apartments in central locations provide that equality of opportunity and increased mobility”.
Sam Reece from WA Apartment Advocacy weighed in to the debate, saying she was “sick and tired of the comments that apartments are slums… choice is good and it is no one’s right to choose on behalf of others”.
A long-time property sector commentator, Ms Reece says she started up the advocacy group this year after growing tired of apartment grumbles.
“It’s a not-for profit, I started it, I fund it myself. I saw what was happening: I was seeing these very small minority groups in South Perth and Cottesloe, and I knew there were people out there supporting apartment living but they’re not engaging in the dialogue … the idea behind WAAA is to get the silent majority to start speaking up”.
With Ms Matheson running for government under her new party Julie Matheson for WA, Mr Harley added “I’m not sure that someone with your views, and flippant disregard for the tens of thousands of Western Australians who live in apartments should be in the state parliament having control over metropolitan planning rules”.
The full barney’s up on The Perth Voice Facebook page on the article “Seven-storey Inglewood alarms locals”.
by DAVID BELL