Iluka Plaza commercial centre approved

An artist impression of the proposed Iluka Plaza.
An artist impression of the proposed Iluka Plaza.

AN $8 million neighbourhood centre has been approved for Iluka.

The two-storey Iluka Plaza proposes an IGA supermarket and liquor store, Nido Early School, gym, and other uses including restaurant or café, consulting rooms and office on O’Mara Boulevard between Burns Beach Road and Calis Avenue.

The AGEM Property Group proposal was presented to the Metro North-West Joint Development Assessment Panel in March but was deferred to address issues including considering an entrance to IGA from O’Mara Boulevard, removal of the Calis Avenue vehicle entrance ramp, pedestrian access from Calis Avenue and increasing setback to the required 2m on Calis Avenue.

An appeal was then made to the State Administrative Tribunal and revised plans were presented back to the panel on Monday, with City of Joondalup officers recommending they be conditionally approved.

LSV Borrello Lawyers principal Julius Skinner, representing the applicant, said the changes included the requested pedestrian access but did not remove the Calis Avenue access ramp because it was consistent with the structure and development plans for the area and “four expert traffic engineers” had supported the design.

DMG Australia Architects principal Lindsay Allen said if they did redesign it to an internal ramp system, it would result in the loss of car bays and it was “not good or safe to have all traffic on Burns Beach Road”.

Dynamic Planning and Developments director Neil Teo said the Calis Avenue streetscape was “very important” and they had gone to “great levels” to sink this side of the development into the ground to reduce the impact of the nil setback on residents, and had proposed a landscaped green wall.

Mr Allen added this meant they could get the same amount of floor space, rather than increasing it to three storeys, which would be “very prominent”.

Regarding providing an entrance to IGA from O’Mara Boulevard, Mr Teo said this was not included because it was not IGA’s preference.

Mr Allen added it was also a practical issue with the footpath not at the same level as the supermarket.

Instead, it was proposed to include an entrance to a food tenancy from O’Mara Boulevard and for IGA top have low shelving and windows so pedestrians could still see the activity inside.

Mr Skinner also said the proposal was under the plot ratio with 0.8 proposed instead of the allowed 1.6, and it was under height with two storeys instead of the allowed three.

However, Patricia Grimmer, who lives opposite the site, said the revised plans still had “no consideration for residents”.

Residents attended a meeting at the Iluka site.

She said she had a “huge problem” with the proposed Calis Avenue access ramp being opposite her home and urged the applicant to find a “sympathetic compromise”.

She said the City’s own policies stated childcare centres were “high traffic generators” and having it accessed via the ramp would have a negative impact on residents.

Mrs Grimmer also raised concerns with the nil setback still proposed for Calis Avenue, while fellow local resident Neil Catterall also raised issues with sight lines and the proposal to use mirrors at the Calis Avenue exit to minimise the impacts.

However, Joondalup planning services manager Chris Leigh said the location of the ramp as a secondary access was consistent with the local development plan and the City supported the use of mirrors to address sight issues.

Panel presiding member Karen Hyde also questioned why only 1.6 per cent of the proposal was open space instead of the required 8 per cent.

Mr Allen said they planned to plant into the verge and provide street trees for the parking bays on O’Mara Boulevard, and had proposed planter boxes on the roof but the Joondalup Design Reference Panel recommended they be removed because they were not sustainable.

Panel acting deputy presiding member Chris Antill said it was a “difficult situation” and he “fully sympathised with the residents”.

“However, we need to deal with this within the parameters of the planning instruments,” he said.

He said the proposal was generally compliant and the applicant had made positive changes and “sufficient justification” where changes were not made, and having the access offset from Meco Lane would help to prevent ratrunning.

Panel specialist member Fred Zuideveld also said it was a “good design for the site given the challenging contours” and commended the proposal to dig into the site to reduce the height.

However, Cr Philippa Taylor said she was disappointed with the revised plans and still wanted to see an entrance to IGA from O’Mara Boulevard to “improve amenity and walkability”.

She said the access ramp would “severely affect” the amenity of residents and suggested the applicant decrease its floorspace to accommodate the loss of parking bays that would be caused by redesigning it.

She also said while she was glad to see a pedestrian access included, it was in the “most dangerous part” with the crossover at the top of the ramp where cars would be accelerating.

“I support the idea because it is a nice idea for residents but it is an unsatisfactory design,” she said,

Cr Nige Jones said he was “really torn” given Iluka “desperately needs” the facility and “doesn’t even have a deli”.

Ms Hyde said she was also divided but was “mindful of the planning frameworks” in place.

The proposal was approved 4-1, with Cr Taylor voting against.

Additional conditions, unanimously approved, included relocating the path on Calis Avenue to the kerb to allow for more landscaping between the site and verge, and for the applicant to provide a traffic and parking management plan to allow the “safe access and egress, and vehicular and pedestrian movement on site” and to reconsider the use of mirrors at the exit on Calis Avenue.

Ms Hyde also added a condition to limit the hours of operation for the childcare centre from 7am to 6pm on Mondays to Fridays and 8am to 1pm on Saturdays, and the IGA and liquor store from 8am to 9pm every day, which was approved 3-2, with Mr Antill and Mr Zuideveld voting against.

AGEM Property Group said in a statement it was “delighted” with the approval and construction would be expected to start in July.

Tenancies still available include food and beverage, gym, allied health consulting, office, medical, pharmacy and retail.

Luke Parker, representing Brightwater Care Group, which will operate Odyssey Residences at Beaumaris Beach already approved next to the Iluka Plaza site, said the services offered at the centre would be “perfect for the future retirees of Odyssey” and would provide “amenity, activation and local employment”.