JDAP ignores council to give Willing the nod

An artist’s impression of Willing’s apartments.

CORRECTION: The initial version of this article incorrectly stated the JDAP voted to approve the development, but they’ve voted to defer it for now.

THE state government’s Joint Development Assessment Panel has deferred plans for a five-storey apartment building on a Coolbinia site that’s only meant to have three.

Local residents had hoped the JDAP would reject the project outright, and Stirling council had recommended the JDAP vote for refusal.

The JDAPs were created in 2011 to “streamline” development applications that might otherwise get held up by local opposition or objecting councils, and allow three state government-appointed members to overrule local councillors.

The Coolbinia apartments project by Willing Property on the corner of Adair Parade and Walcott Street was a prime case. Stirling council staff, the elected councillors themselves, and many locals had a range of objections (“Council beefs up opposition to units,” Voice, April 1, 2023).


But the developer argued the combination of apartments, shops and landscaping would be good for the area and the design was good enough to deserve two extra storeys above the usual limit. 

The JDAP members voted to defer the item at their March 30 meeting until they could get more information about the proposed parking setup, the rubbish collection plan, and to consider concerns about the southern townhouses overlooking neighbouring properties.

Resident Jimmy Thompson contacted the Voice after the meeting, and said residents felt like spectators whose views weren’t considered: “The application in question appears to clearly breach current regulations with regards to height and scale… the JDAPs are supposed to work for the benefit of the community, but in this case, it feels as though they are working against us. 

“The community should not have to sit idly by while decisions that will have a significant impact on our lives and our environment are made without our input.”

In recent times JDAPs have overridden Stirling on some big issues that locals and the council was dead against, including the 2021 approval of a massive apartment tower redevelopment at Karrinyup Shopping Centre that’s set to change the face of the suburb (residents accused one of the DAP members of falling asleep during that meeting, which was denied). 

Currently any project worth more than $3.5 million can opt to go to the JDAP for a decision instead of the council.

Premier Mark McGowan announced in February that any multi-dwelling project would soon be allowed to go to JDAPs, a change welcomed by developers fed up with slow-moving local governments acting as speed bumps (“No winners,” Voice, March 25, 2023).


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