Happy ending to residents’ arrows upset

In February, neighbours petitioned the City of Gosnells to stand by its December 2012 rejection of a retrospective application for a home archery supply store, due to privacy concerns.

Owner Ruth Almond’s second proposal, in February, included installing a slat fence and plantings to protect privacy, and relocating test firing to a carport.

Councillors allowed the public 45 minutes to voice opinions: many vouched for Ms Almond’s professionalism, but neighbours repeated their privacy and safety worries.

One brought in an arrow he found on his property, though he could not prove its source.

Neighbour Kate Lawson said she was keeping her blinds shut and avoiding her backyard.

‘I’m even on edge putting the washing out, and my nine-month-old daughter is definitely never outside,’ she said.

‘If the firing of arrows continues next door I will be moving my family to a safer location.’

After hearing both sides, councillors revoked the original refusal and asked staff to investigate further.

Staff met both women, observed test firing and inspected the screening, before reporting that the modifications were reasonable.

Ms Lawson’s response at last week’s meeting was, Mayor Dave Griffiths said, ‘one of the nicest public statements’ council had ever heard.

Ms Lawson said she still found arrows firing next door ‘frightening’ but now understood the planning and legal issues better.

‘I have learnt a lot during this process; about council and archery,’ she said.

‘And if anyone is allowed to shoot arrows in their backyard, I’m glad it is under the guidance of someone so experienced.’

Councillor Olwen Searle said she was glad the disagreement had not degenerated into a ‘really bad situation’.

‘A smile and a wave from a neighbour means a lot,’ she said.

Ms Lawson and Ms Almond left the meeting together and before parting, promised each other they would catch up for coffee.