Joondalup council wrestles with holy question: are there too many churches in Winton Rd?


Joondalup Council is considering a draft plan that will refresh the centre of the city.
Joondalup Council is considering a draft plan that will refresh the centre of the city.

ARE there too many churches in Winton Road?

At last month’s Joondalup council meeting, councillors were presented with the City’s draft Joondalup Activity Centre Plan, which officers had recommended for public consultation.

The plan is required by a State planning policy that identifies Joondalup as a strategic metropolitan centre.

It aims to guide future development and retail expansion of the city centre over the next 10 years and builds on the City’s concept of having different precincts.

The draft plan proposes seven precincts: the city centre, health and wellness (Joondalup Health Campus and Arena Joondalup), learning and innovation, Joondalup West (a large part of the Joondalup Business Park and Quadrangle Estate), Quarry Park, Joondalup Edge (Edgewater train station) and Lakeside residential.

These precincts recognise the character of the area and help to determine appropriate land uses to “generate diversity, activity and vibrancy throughout the city centre”.

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A council document said determining land uses for the precincts was a challenge to create flexibility without resulting in the “potential proliferation of certain land uses to the extent that the overall character and intent of the precinct is undermined”.

“For instance, concerns have been raised in the past about a proliferation of certain land uses in the Winton Road area,” it said.

At the meeting, Cr John Chester said the City needed to make it clear the continued development of places of worship in Winton Road was not in line with the “general purpose” of the area.

“Winton Road is a prime business area,” he said.

“There are already eight churches in that area.

“I think it would be better to have a better activated space and have businesses there that would operate six days a week.

“I also think there’s the issue that, although the existence of churches is absolutely worthwhile, unfortunately they do not pay rates.”

Cr Chester proposed the council amend the draft plan to prohibit the ‘place of worship’ land use in the Joondalup West and city centre precincts.

He suggested they would be more appropriate in the health and wellness or residential precints.

Cr Kerry Hollywood agreed that “Winton Road is meant to be for businesses”.

She said changing the land use would not affect the existing churches; they could still operate and would not be prevented from extending with building alterations.

Cr John Logan asked is the City was to change the land use, was there somewhere places or worship could be developed.

Planning and community development director Dale Page said while there were areas in the City that allowed for places of worship, they were already developed.

She said prohibiting the land use would not affect the existing places of worship but it would mean no new places of worship could be established.

Mayor Troy Pickard said if land use was changed, there would be “no new churches in the City of Joondalup”.

“I think what a travesty that would be given the lion’s share of our community actively participate in the Christian community – over 70 per cent – and we’re fortunate that we have some very active churches in the City with a large number of them calling the Winton Road precinct their home,” he said.

“We don’t have alternative land uses in the City of Joondalup to house churches.

“While I acknowledge it may hinder the full maturation of the Winton Road business precinct, without an alternate location I don’t think it’s appropriate that we should be prohibiting using place of worship.”

Mr Pickard said the draft plan had been four years in the making and the recommendation was about advertising it for public consultation.

“That is the vehicle that we hear the community’s voice and make appropriate decisions, not to pre-empt what may be perceived as a strong desire in the community and to change it before we send out for consultation,” he said.

“Public consultation is the purpose of this resolution, not to manipulate it at the last minute to make what is a very significant change.”

Cr Chester disagreed saying it would be “cleaner” to make the change before it was advertised for consultation.

“If people object to the exclusion of churches in Winton Road then they can make that statement and we can change it back,” he said.

“I believe there is an appetite not to allow any more churches in that area.”

Councillors voted 8-1 to advertise the draft for public consultation without changing the land use. Consultation is open until March 27 at www.joondalup.wa.gov.au or call 9400 4100.

 

Joondalup Activity Centre Plan to refresh city centre

THE draft Joondalup Activity Centre Plan is a “transformation document that will see the face of the city centre refreshed”, according to Mayor Troy Pickard.

A council document from last month’s meeting said it aimed to connect seven proposed precincts in the city centre using methods such as improving pedestrian and cycle links, dedicated bus priority lanes and reducing speed limits, intersection upgrades, integrating the Winton Road area with the city centre and an emphasis on high-density residential development.

It also recognised the City needed to improve its east-west connections.