MELVILLE councillor Nicole Foxton is in the crosshairs of Melville residents after backing the controversial redevelopment of the Striker sports complex into 84 units.
Cr Foxton is one of two council representatives on the powerful joint development advisory panel.
Despite the council’s overwhelming opposition to the plans for 94 Kitchener Road—on the grounds they were far too dense and tall—Cr Foxton joined three of the JDAP’s five members to approve them last month. Cr Mark Reynolds, the council’s other rep on the JDAP, opposed the project.
The approved plan is 300 times more dense than council rules normally allow and the buildings are two metres higher. Opponents say a site zoned R40 is effectively being developed as if it was R100.
Refused to answer
Mullings Street resident Julie McCann says Cr Foxton had been a no-show at council meetings the Striker Action group attended, and she’d refused to answer the group’s questions.
“We are blindly led to believe that when we have an issue like this, the councillors are the first people we go to,” Ms McCann told the Herald.
“They are meant to be the people that stand up for us and make sure everyone abides by the same rules, same guidelines and same R codes, but she isn’t supporting us.”
Cr Foxton says her role on the JDAP requires her to remain independent from the council: she is urging locals to stop complaining: “The decision made at the JDAP meeting, much to the disappointment of some residents, was a final decision and cannot be overturned, so I think to continue the debate is a fruitless exercise.
“I believe the development on Kitchener Road met the design principles and I made an informed decision based on the information provided by both parties.”
However, Bateman Liberal MP Matt Taylor has his doubts about the way the JDAP handled the application.
He says the project was given the green light only because the JDAP used “broad discretionary powers…to override the government’s own planning guidelines, as well as the clear intention of the City of Melville and the affected residents”.
He will present his concerns to state parliament next week (see story, this page).
Last Sunday more than 150 banner-waving Melville locals gathered at Harry Clemens Reserve to launch a petition that calls for an investigation into the way the JDAP makes its decisions.
Mr Taylor will present the petition to the lower house and Labor MLC Sue Ellery will present it to the upper house.
by CLARE KENYON