THE WA Planning Commission will make the final decision on a proposed shopping centre featuring an Aldi supermarket at the Noranda Hills Nursery site, despite Bayswater Council’s recommended refusal.
At the December 4 committee meeting, the council unanimously voted to advise the Commission that it was against amendment No. 77 to town planning scheme No. 24 to rezone Lot 2, 81 Camboon Road, Noranda from special purpose to business.
The reasons for refusal include the proposal not being urgent, changing the zoning with limited strategic planning justification representing ad-hoc planning and the proposal encouraging commercial development outside the activity centre.
In November 2017, the council initiated the scheme amendment subject to applicant Harley Dykstra – Land and Property Development providing more information.
Following a community meeting organised by North ward councillors in April, where hundreds of residents expressed their opposition to the proposed amendment, the applicant made changes to the proposal.
The applicant removed a proposed convenience store and petrol station and retail shops in the current plans, which now included an Aldi, coffee shop, health studio, day care centre and seven residential units with a density residential code of R50.
Town planner and Noranda resident Gene Koltasz, who spoke on behalf of owner Bill Ntoumenopolous, said City officers’ refusal of the proposal was based on an “outdated policy” that protected existing shopping centres.
“The proposed Aldi store will introduce an element of competition in the area, which will allow for different types of shopping,” he said.
“Also, the future of the area is going to be subject to increased density and once again, that will introduce more customers into the area.
“If the dynamics arrive, the owners will continue to use the site as a nursery and associated retail type uses.”
Councillors and Morley MLA remain opposed
Cr Stephanie Gray said she would continue to oppose the application, as it would divide the Noranda town centre into two precincts.
“What I do want to make very clear to everybody is the overwhelming feeling against this proposal in what is a very quiet and residential area,” she said.
“If we really need more shops, and I have serious reservations about that, surely the expansion of the existing retail footprint is more in line with our future design direction of this area.”
Deputy Mayor Chris Cornish said while he commended the applicant in adjusting the plans, he was a “servant of the people” and he was going to support the residents.
“At the November 17 meeting – I did make a mistake for not voting against,” he said.
“I think we as a council need to consider in the future, before we are going to allow something to occur which will take the decision making out from us, we need to go to the community then.”
Morley MLA Amber-Jade Sanderson said she was disappointed with the council initiating the process last year but pleased it listened to the community to not support the amendment.
“Unfortunately it is now in the hands of the WA Planning Commission, I will be doing everything in my power, working with the Noranda community to ensure the WAPC does not approve this application,” she said.