Orange Grove: Councillors vote to delay decision to rezone suburb

City of Gosnells councillors voted to delay a decision on the re-zoning of Orange Grove.
City of Gosnells councillors voted to delay a decision on the re-zoning of Orange Grove.

CITY of Gosnells councillors have voted to delay the decision to rezone Orange Grove so as to prevent further applications down the road to build places of worship in the suburb.

Councillors were worried rushing into a decision could backfire and produce unintended consequences.

However, the council remained steadfast in their commitment to rezoning the land and said they were working towards an amendment to their town planning scheme.

Orange Grove residents were left fuming after the Joint Development Assessment Panel (JDAP) approved an application to build a place of worship there last month, despite the City of Gosnells’ rejection of the initial application.

Councillor Glenn Dewhurst had moved Orange Grove be re-zoned from rural to special rural to restrict the range of land uses which could be approved in Orange Grove to address residents’ concerns.

He expressed a willingness for the council to carry the motion as soon as possible, as the City had rejected numerous place of worship applications within the suburb over the years and was worried the JDAP decision would open the floodgates for similar approved applications.

However, his fellow councillors, while sympathetic to the residents’ cause, were cautious of amending the town planning scheme and rezoning Orange Grove overnight without having reviewed the potential consequences.

Councillor David Goode said the City should wait and get the strategic issues right as they would then have a higher chance of approval by the Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC).

Councillor Julie Brown said putting the recommendation forward prematurely could compromise long term outcomes.

Director of planning and sustainability Chris Terelinck said he did not think the WAPC would approve the amendment if it were pushed through.

“The WAPC has previously refused to support the Council’s attempt to prohibit places of worship in the general rural zone,” he said.

“Given that the proposed Amendment would have the same effect as that previously not supported by the WAPC, it is likely that the WAPC would not allow the Amendment to proceed.”

The motion was defeated six votes to four.