City waters down buffer for wetland

COCKBURN council’s planners have been talked into allowing a developer to shrink a wetland buffer, despite the state’s biodiversity department urging them to stick to their guns.

Developer Goddard Property has submitted a structure plan for one of the last sites along Hammond Road in Success to be prepped up for housing. It’s well within a development zone, but a tiny 24sqm corner touches a high-level wetlands conservation zone and the department likes them to have a 50-metre buffer zone so things like weeds don’t muck them up.

Goddard’s planners Taylor Burrell Barnett only proposed a buffer of between 39.7m and 51.7m, but supported by a site-specific Wetland Conservation Area Management Plan.

That wasn’t sufficient for the biodiversity department, which recommended maps be amended to “show the position of the CCW boundary and its 50m buffer”.

Degraded

But it was enough for the council’s planning department, which said part of the buffer was degraded and under the management plan would be weeded and planted out with natives, while it was next to the subdivision’s local park so would increase residents’ amenity.

“It supports the provision of additional [public open space] that is capable of being managed in a low-threat condition, thereby providing greater separation distance between classified vegetation and residential development,” a report to the council noted, somewhat putting its parks crew on notice they’d be responsible for keeping weeds at bay.

The report also noted a neighbouring subdivision was also approved with a reduced buffer, which meant this decision “provides for consistency”.

Somewhat ironically the developers’ arguments for higher density on the basis of a precedence set in the same neighbouring subdivision were rejected because that was a one-off which took into account the wetland’s infringement on the development.

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