City of Bayswater to try to buy land at controversial development site

City of Bayswater to try to buy land at controversial development site
Protesters outside Donna Faragher’s Guildford office.
Protesters outside Donna Faragher’s Guildford office.

RESIDENTS clapped as Bayswater City council last night moved to try to buy the Carter’s wetlands next to the Eric Singleton Bird Sanctuary.

The Skipper’s Row subdivision drew public outcry when bulldozers began works last month, after the WA Planning Commission (WAPC) approved the proposal despite a council refusal recommendation.

Approved at the meeting, the City will arrange a meeting with the owners of lots 6-10 and 14, 128 and 130 King William Street, Bayswater, as well as State Department of Planning officers to discuss providing a buffer on the land to the sanctuary.

The City will ask the Carter family if they intend to sell the lot or part of the lot.

Should the lot be available, the City will request funding from the State Government and Mt Lawley MLA Michael Sutherland to purchase the wetlands.

Council will start the process to permanently close the portion of King William Street to the Swan River foreshore, so it can form part of the Eric Singleton Bird Sanctuary and Riverside Gardens.

It will also start a process to rezone the wetlands’ site from residential to public open space.

Councillor Dan Bull said public outcry to the works had been “striking”.

“Council stand as a united front… and support this recommendation,” he said, to clapping from members of the public gallery.

However, Mayor Barry McKenna said he did not want to give the public a “false sense of security” the purchase was a done deal.

“If (the owners) are prepared to talk, that’s a great step forward,” he said.

City planning and development services director Des Abel said City officers had already verbally discussed purchase options with the applicants.

“Their advice, as of last Thursday, was they wanted to hold on to the land,” he said.

Bayswater resident Keith Clements asked whether council had been offered a chance to buy the land since it knocked back an offer in 2010.

Cr McKenna said he did not know, as that had not been a council resolution.

“That’s a really insufficient answer,” Mr Clements said.

“Someone in this room must know.”

No Houses in Wetlands member Jacquie Kelly said extensive bulldozing had been carried out as part of the fire management plan.

“Unless we see the fire management plan, we can’t tell if there is a breach,” she said.

Cr McKenna said the City of Bayswater was waiting on bushfire management plan, draining and geo-tech surveys documents.

Council also moved to release all confidential documents relating to the sale of lot 14, 128 King William Street.