Bayswater council rejects Skipper’s Row owners’ ‘olive branch’, will hire consultant to negotiate development options

Bayswater council rejects Skipper’s Row owners’ ‘olive branch’, will hire consultant to negotiate development options

BAYSWATER council will appoint a consultant to negotiate development options at Skipper’s Row after it rejected an “olive branch” from the owners.

The D’Orazio and Carter families submitted a revised proposal to council that included a 4.2-4.4m buffer zone along King William Street frontage and “hammerhead” treatments rather than cul-de-sacs in the Carter’s land, aimed to lessen the impact on the wetlands.

The decision comes after residents on Monday were forced to block a truck entering the D’Orazio’s land to begin work without approvals.

Councillor Terry Kenyon unsuccessfully tried to lead council to accept the offer, an “olive branch” that aimed to appease the community.

He said the D’Orazio family had paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in rates at the site since the 1950s and had “every right” to develop their land.

Cr Chris Cornish said a 5m buffer zone was not the 10m council originally wanted but was “nothing to be sneezed at”.

“What does council do now? They’ve got the approval…this new plan will not go to (WA Planning Commission),” he said.

“I don’t want to say I support this but… it’s a damn sight better.”

Mayor Barry McKenna unsuccessfully called to defer the item, as he had a positive meeting with developers ABN Group on Monday.

He said he wished he could tell council what had happened.

Council moved the officer’s recommendation to knock back the revised plans and spend $30,000 to hire a consultant to explore further options.

Cr Sally Palmer said it was a “peaceful step” to keep owners, community and environmental people happy.

Also at the meeting, No Houses in Wetlands member Jacquie Kelly asked council why residents had to stop work trucks entering the D’Orazio site and why there was nothing stopping the machinery.

“Why should citizens such as myself block the entrance to the D’Orazio block,” she said.

“Several of us had to stand there to prevent the sand being dumped… it was very traumatising.”

Meanwhile, land co-owner Greg D’Orazio broke the family’s silence on Monday evening with a lengthy post on Bayswater Urban Tree Network’s Facebook page.

“Every step has been by the book, by the letter of the law,” he said.

“I can’t sit here any longer silently and watch councillors deflect every bit of blame to everyone but themselves.

“With all the outcry and pressure from residents, council then decided to sit with us… finally after trying to do so for four months.”

Mr D’Orazio said the family was willing to compromise on the development, despite it already being approved.

“We have been heartened by the Bayswater residents’ love for our area, it does warm the heart knowing that the community spirit is alive and well,” he said.

“But I also think it’s time to put pressure and maybe point a few fingers where a fair portion of the blame rests… at our council.”