Residents oppose petting zoo in Champion Lakes

Residents oppose petting zoo in Champion Lakes

PLANS for a petting zoo in Champion Lakes have met with opposition from neighbours.

Francois Brits has a vision of opening a petting zoo, kiosk and children’s play centre on his 3ha property on McNeill Road.

Growing up in South Africa it struck him how small Perth’s back yards had become, distancing children from nature.

“As a kid we had lots of freedom and I was fortunate enough to work on farms and discover relationships between animals and people,” said Mr Brits.

He said the petting zoo would be something for the children of Armadale and its community and was not just a, “money making business”.

“Look at Whiteman Park, the Swan Valley Petting Farm and Kings Park Nature Play,” he said.

“Whenever we take the kids on an outing we have to drive for over an hour – imagine if we had something like that here.”

Mr Brits’ vision has not been embraced by his neighbours who say the plans are for more than a home farm petting zoo.

Preliminary plans submitted to the City of Armadale include a petting zoo, mini golf course, indoor play centre, outdoor playground and facilities such as a kiosk, dining area, toilet block and car park.

Councillor Colin Campbell presented a petition to Armadale Council with 58 signatures opposing the development, on November 28 last year.

Objections included negative impacts on the rural landscape, loss of privacy, noise pollution and increased traffic disturbing other road users including cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders.

Classed as a rural living zone, residents were concerned a commercial development was not in keeping with current land use.

“There has been concern this development doesn’t allow for the requirement for protection of rural amenity,” said McNeill road resident Caroline Jacobsen.

“It is our hope that concerns about the development that have been raised by local residents, people who use the Champion Lakes equestrian facilities, and organisations managing the nearby river and nature reserves, will be thoroughly considered by the City of Armadale, and we will be following proceedings carefully,” she added.

Mr Brits said he was expecting people to not embrace change, “When you’ve lived on a property with certain outlooks, how your neighbourhood looks, change is always a measure of fear – ‘how will this impact me’?”

Recommendations by the City’s development and services committee will be discussed when it meets on March 21.

Armadale Council is expected to vote on the plans at a meeting on March 28.