Department of Communities to consult residents on future of Kiara Bushland

Kiara Bushland. Picture: Kristie Lim.
Kiara Bushland. Picture: Kristie Lim.

THE Department of Communities will go back to the drawing board after scrapping plans for a high school at Kiara Bushland.

It comes after community group Save Our Kiara Bushland raised concerns over the lack of consultation, the retention of remaining flora and fauna and the impact on the wetland. The group also referred to a blind spot on Beckworth Avenue and the potential increase in traffic during several community meetings since construction started on the area’s first residential estate.

Bassendean MLA Dave Kelly, department representatives and newly-elected Swan councillor Jennifer Catalano have held community meetings, with the most recent organised by Cr Catalano on May 4.

In February, civil works started and 20 trees were cleared at Lot 9000 Bottlebrush Drive for the construction of 30 residential lots, as part of stage one of the department’s Kiara South development.

Last month, Link Residential Group released the lots for one of the estates, SugarGum estate, for sale with prices ranging from $207,500 to $232,500.

SugarGum estate is under construction. Picture: Kristie Lim

Department of Communities commercial operation assistant director-general Greg Cash said because the the high school was no longer being proposed, the Department was seeking to amend the structure plan for the remainder of the site.

“A Local Structure Plan for the site approved in 2017 proposes two areas of residential development and a high school site, with more than 30 per cent of the site to be allocated as public open space,” he said.

“Under the amended plan, at least 30 per cent of the site will continue to be allocated as public open space comprised of bushland, with priority retention areas being a wetland area and buffer in the north-west corner of the site and an Indigenous campsite of significance.

“The department will host an information session at the Alice Davoran Centre in Lockridge on May 23 to provide more information about the project and seek feedback.

“Following this, the department will prepare an LSP Amendment to be submitted to the City of Swan, with an opportunity for public comment under the formal statutory planning process.”

Save Our Bushland members with Swan councillors Andrew Kiely and Jennifer Catalano. Picture: Supplied.

Save Our Kiara Bushland member Pat McKeown said a new report commissioned by Cr Catalano, which had been forwarded to Environment Minister Simon Dawson, found that the site was “very viable and regenerating”, contradicting previous environmental reports.

He said all development should cease at the remainder of the site, so the bushland could be preserved.

Mr Kelly said the Department had assured him more community consultation would take place.

“As the school is no longer going in, this is an excellent opportunity for the plan to be reviewed and for the community to have more input into the design,” he said.

For information, visit www.housing.wa.gov.au/kiara

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