Housing nod for wetlands

A NEW housing block is set be built next to Bayswater wetlands, after the council reluctantly approved a 23-lot subdivision.

The development application will now go to the state government’s WA Planning Commission for rubber-stamping.

The private block is owned by the family of late Bayswater mayor John D’Orazio. It’s opposite the Eric Singleton Wetlands, and next to the section of wetlands known as the “Carter Block”, named after the Carter family who owned it.

The original WAPC-approved plan in 2016 was for 27 subdivided lots, but developers needed to use a bit of the Carter’s Block for cul de sacs, and they couldn’t after Bayswater council bought the block for $3 million.

The developers have scaled back to 23 lots with a slighter larger buffer between the houses and the wetlands.

Bayswater mayor Dan Bull told councillors at the July 17 council meeting that the WAPC would very likely rubber-stamp the new plan, so the best tactic was to approve it with lots of conditions, “to make it as good as possible…even though it is far from good”.

• Barriers are up around the privately-owned block at the Bayswater wetlands, with development soon to start. Photo by Steve Grant

Local park

Some of the proposed conditions included:

• A noise wall to not upset the wildlife in the park;

• Stringent plans to control water runoff;

• A public park; and

• A requirement for state departments including the WAPC to see the site prior to approval.

Cr Bull said the WAPC granted the original approval without visiting the site:

“My understanding is when this was approved, there was no site inspection, it was a desktop decision… we don’t know what would have happened had the officers gone out and looked at the site in context of where it was between the Carter’s wetland and the Eric Singleton Bird Sanctuary.”

Councillors Giorgia Johnson and Elli Petersen-Pik voted against it.

Cr Petersen-Pik said; “I cannot support this proposal. While it sounds practical, we should do what’s good for the Eric Singleton Bird Sanctuary.” He said the buffer needed to be bigger.

by DAVID BELL

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