THE decision on Yolk Property’s development at 9-11 King William Street has been made, but the issue continues to split the community, with a supporter’s car being egged and a councillor hammered by threats to vote her out.
Bayswater councillor Catherine Ehrhardt says she’s been peppered by negative comments after voting to support the development at the JDAP.
Supporters of the six-storey project say it’ll inject life into the town centre and help businesses flourish, but opponents from Bayswater Deserves Better say it’s too tall and will see a category 3 heritage building destroyed.
Cr Ehrhardt says in all her time on council no other issue has elicited such an angry response.
“I appreciate they’re passionate, but they also have to understand that different people have different views,” she says.
“They are entitled to their view, but I’m not going to base a vote on fear.”
Public posts on Facebook have called her a shill for developers and a supporter of “heritage destruction” who’s not representing the community and needs be booted out come election time.
Greg Smith from Bayswater Deserves Better publicly posted: “Your vote for the Yolk development illustrates that you represent the developer lobby & not the Bayswater community: you should resign!”
Paul Shanahan is a local school teacher and spokesperson for Future Bayswater, a group supporting the project in the hope it’ll kickstart a revitalisation of the area, bringing in residents to support businesses and providing affordable housing for younger people and seniors.
He spoke in favour of the development at the JDAP meeting, and in the nights that followed his car was egged twice.
Mr Shanahan says the backlash is “pretty hurtful to some of our members, and it’s not nice to have that said about you as a teacher in the area”.
But an egging hasn’t cracked his resolve.
”We have to answer this question: Where are our young and old going to live? The reason Future Bayswater started, for me, was to start a conversation about that.
“Unfortunately I attract a lot of criticism and vitriol, but that question is too important for me to back off, and I’m just not going to.”
by DAVID BELL