South Lake residents upset as planning department drags feet

Stock image.
Stock image.

RESIDENTS say they are angry a revitalisation plan for three Cockburn suburbs has sat with the planning department and minister for more than a year.

The City of Cockburn began work on the Lakes Revitalisation Strategy in 2015 with an aim to guide future residential development and suburb revitalisation in parts of South Lake, Bibra Lake and North Lake.

Cockburn planning and development services director Daniel Arndt said the strategy was sent to the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage (DPLH) in January 2018 with a recommendation for approval and was currently sitting with Ms Saffioti’s office as of December 11 last year.

He said two of Cockburn’s three previous revitalisation strategies took just five months to go through the system, while the third took 13 months after DPLH requested minor modifications.

“The City notes (the strategy) was submitted to the DPLH 14 months ago for a decision following overwhelming support from the community and there is no indication as to when a decision will be made by the Minister or what that decision is likely to be,” he said.

“The Lakes Revitalisation Strategy is the fourth infill project that the City of Cockburn has undertaken and each revitalisation project works towards meeting infill targets.

“The City doesn’t just seek to fill up existing suburbs, through a careful partnership with each unique community, we establish a shared vision and an action plan to support higher densities with an infrastructure investment package to improve public facilities across the project area.”

South Lake resident Michael Panizza said it was a process that shouldn’t take so long.

“We want to sit down with Planning Minister Rita Saffioti and explain why this would be a good thing for our community but to date, all meeting requests have gone ignored and the Lakes are feeling forgotten,” he said.

“We’d at least like to hear back from the minister, for her to personally take the time to hear us out and importantly, to make a decision in support of our community’s plan.

“Ideally, we want the strategy approved in its current form, our community wants to take the next step.”

Fellow South Lake resident Ross Drennan agrees.

“It’s pretty rare that a scheme amendment is so well supported throughout the community, so we’re finding it hard to understand why it is being held up,” he said.

Ms Saffioti’s office has been contacted for comment.