Gear: We won’t give up on parks

MELVILLE mayor George Gear says if an appeal to planning minister Rita Saffioti to review her decision to block a swag of parks the council wants enshrined in its planning scheme, they’re prepared to start the rezoning process again to “get the message through”.

“When council made the decision to adopt the scheme amendment at the August 2021 ordinary meeting of council, it sought to address an anomaly in the Local Planning Scheme 6 whereby 20 of our existing parks were rezoned residential,” Mr Gear said.

“The amendment to address this situation has been well supported by the community, as the site identified are used as parks and recognised by the community as part of the city’s open space network.

“The direction from the minister for planning to exclude the state-owned sites from the amendment has caused concern and confusion in the community with regard to the future of these parks.”

Mr Gear said density changes proposed around the Kardinya shops would trigger an assessment of potential impacts  – including on open space.

“The city understands that the applicants are currently working on modifications to the proposed activity centre plan.

“It is expected the community and the council will have opportunity to comment on these plans in mid-2022.”

He said while the parks’ vesting orders as recreation currently protected them from development, they needed appropriate zoning to avoid concern and confusion in the community.

Residents around Lou Withers Reserve in Kardinya have argued the activity centre plan which has the support of the state’s planning department shows the reserve as a public open space and that should be honoured (“Park fury grows,” Herald, January 29, 2022).

But the department told the Herald the plan didn’t affect the status of the zoning under the planning scheme – again avoiding the question of why it didn’t then allow the council to amend the scheme.

“The council can at any point in time, decide to review the status of its public open areas and propose further scheme amendments,” a spokesperson said.

“The current use of any site as public open space, identified as Amendment 10, is not affected and may continue to be used by the local community.”

by STEVE GRANT

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