Scale of housing concerns residents

A map of the proposed Gidgegannup housing project.
A map of the proposed Gidgegannup housing project.

Minister for Planning and Kalamunda MLA John Day has commended to Parliament the metropolitan region scheme amendment to rezone the Gidgegannup town site area to urban zone, with a decision expected in mid-September.

If signed off, the amendment would allow landowner Michael Coleman, of Riseley Investments, to build two developments on Bunning and Toodyay roads to accommodate an additional 4000 residents, more than doubling the current population of the town.

The WA Planning Commission approved the amendment in May, with the City of Swan confirming the site as suitable for development in an environmentally sustainable manner.

The Shire of Mundaring did not support the planning amendment.

Reasons for rejection included lack of adequate assurances around water and transport for a future development.

Gidgegannup Progress Association (GPA) chairwoman Sally Block said the local community was not opposed to a housing development, but the scale of Mr Coleman’s plan threatened the village lifestyle and its bushland environment.

The GPA asked the City of Swan for a special electors meeting to allow the community to discuss residents’ concerns about the amendment and to clarify the fairness of the public consultation.

A date for the meeting is set for September 8 at 6pm at Gidgegannup Hall.

Mrs Block said the amendment was the latest proposal in a long- running fight, which began in 2006, to protect the town site from overdevelopment and urbanised sprawl by setting in place ‘responsible guidelines’.

‘The amendment would permit a development of 296.6ha, some 50 per cent larger than the area approved in 2010,’ Mrs Block said.

‘We are also concerned at the open-ended wording in the amendment that lot numbers can be 1500 or upwards, depending on the developer’s need for extra lots to meet the costs of infrastructure.

‘This does not appear to comply with the objectives of the North Eastern Hills settlement pattern plan, which supports the option for small town sites,’ Mrs Block said.

The Gidgegannup Rural Strategy plan also recognises the Gidgegannup lifestyle as requiring support and protection, said Mrs Block, with the town site being ‘rainwater self-sufficient’, having minimal shops and no commercial centre.

According to the GPA, Gidgegannup residents save Perth more than 300,000 kilolitres of scheme water per year by using collected rainwater.

‘Gidgegannup is one of the best ‘tree change’ areas of the Perth Hills, and will remain as such as long as we care.

‘Supporting the biodiversity of this region benefits all Western Australians,’ Mrs Block said.