VINCENT mayor Emma Cole has sought to clarify “inaccuracies” in a widely disseminated letter opposing Rosewood’s upgrade of its Cleaver Street aged home.
The letter by the Cleaver Precinct Action Group states: “The Rosewood Aged Care Group is on the verge of gaining approval for a monstrously high building in your neighbourhood” and urges locals to contact their south ward councillors to put a stop to it.
Precinct group chair Alf Parolo told this week’s council meeting “the flyer was issued as a result of confusion” and it’s easy to see why: locals have to decipher a Byzantine planning approvals process with three overlapping bodies — councillors, the city’s staff, and the Development Assessment Panel.
The letter states Rosewood’s 26m-tall design was “approved by council” but deferred by the DAP until they could look at making the development less imposing.
But Ms Cole explained the council hadn’t approved the DA and city staff can only make a recommendation to the DAP.
She also contested the letter’s claim that the proposal was “rushed through by council”.
Mr Parolo told Tuesday’s meeting the project was snuck through in December when ratepayers were busy in the lead-up to Christmas.
“It’s really quite offensive that such a large proposal, $50m to $60m, is advertised in that period,” he says.
Ms Cole said that under state law, Vincent council staff had 81 days to come up with a recommendation to DAP after they received the application on November 17.
By law, they only had to advertise is for 14 days.
“However, given the Christmas/New Year period, the city’s officers extended the advertising period for an additional 28 days,” and they sent out 446 letters to owners and occupiers within 150m of the site, advertised in the Voice, put up a sign and got 105 separate submissions (a relatively high response rate for consultation).
A revised report to the DAP is imminent and its three-appointed experts and two Vincent councillors (Matt Buckels and Josh Topelberg) will make the final decision.
While there has been a lot of community concern about the height of the project, there is some sympathy for Rosewood.
The not-for-profit’s CEO Mario Zulberti says the upgraded facility will provide 100 new beds to help meet a drastic shortage in WA and Rosewood’s spending $500,000 restoring the heritage-listed Florence Hummerston Lodge.
In December he said it was a good location for seniors in the community and they “do not deserve to be shipped off to a back lot on the outskirts of Perth to live in isolation”.
Local Deirdre James agreed and got in touch with the Voice after receiving the precinct group’s flyer. “I am one of the local ratepayers in favour of encouraging investment and progress within our community,” she says.
“What about the much-needed beds for the elderly? What about bringing specialist services to our community? What about the 200-plus jobs created? So many reasons to support this.
“We live in a mixed-use urban area. If people don’t want this sort of develoment — move to the country I say.”
by DAVID BELL