DUNCRAIG residents have expressed their concerns over redevelopment in the suburb.
About 140 people filled the Joondalup council chamber last month as part of a special electors meeting.
Resident Derren Bessen said there were concerns regarding the new residential density coding in Duncraig as part of the City’s Local Housing Strategy.
The State Government required the development of this strategy to see how the City would meet residential infill targets.
“Housing needs in the metropolitan area are changing,” Joondalup planning and community development director Dale Page said.
“Not only do we need more housing but we also need a diversity of housing to cater for a variety of household structures and needs.
“The State Government has set housing targets for all local governments in the metropolitan area.
“For local governments who don’t have many or any greenfield sites left, this housing needs to be infill development.”
To develop the strategy, the City identified 10 “housing opportunity areas” near train stations, public transport and shopping centres that would be most appropriate for densification.
Duncraig is part of Housing Opportunity Area 1 (HOA1), which had a proposed residential density of R20/R30 with some R20/R40 around Warwick train station and shopping centre and some R20/R60 along Beach Road.
During community consultation in 2010, the City sent out 1759 information packs to residents and received 407 responses.
Ms Page said 73 per cent agreed to be included in the housing opportunity area, 24 per cent did not and 3 per cent did not state a preference.
There were 45 submissions objecting to properties in the Carine Glades estate being included.
Regarding density, 62 per cent felt it was appropriate, 10 per cent felt it was too low, 7 per cent felt it was too high and 21 per cent did not state a preference.
“As a result of the generally high level of community support… the council adopted it in February 2011 and it was forwarded to the Department of Planning (DoP) and the WA Planning Commission (WAPC) for endorsement,” Ms Page said.
“Unfortunately, the DoP didn’t support the strategy because they felt it didn’t respond strongly enough to the State’s strategic planning documents.
“They advised us to expand the size of the housing opportunity area, to increase the coding of the majority of the area to R20/R40 and to introduce more R20/R60 coding near the train station and around the Warwick shopping centre, which we did because we had to.”
The City adopted the revised strategy, which the WAPC endorsed in November 2013.
Mr Bessen said the residents were “not entirely opposed to development” but just wanted it “scaled down and governed by good design principles to complement the current amenity of the area”.
He moved a motion for the council to “urgently work with the WAPC and DoP” to reduced the residential density of the area “bounded by the Mitchell Freeway to the east, Davallia Road to the west, Beach Road to the south and Warwick Road to the north” to R20/R30 and to “immediately put together” an urban design policy to “restrict the building of inappropriate dwellings, in particular apartment blocks”.
“In doing this, the council ensures all new developments are, and I quote the City of Joondalup Local Housing Strategy: ‘being of a design that complements or otherwise enhances the character of an area’,” he said.
Mr Bessen said current developments, such as the R60 development at 21 Strathyre Drive in Duncraig – which is six dwellings at just over two storeys – were out of character with the area because of their bulk and scale.
“If regards to the potential impacts on adjoining properties and streetscape had been considered, we would not have seen this towering monstrosity built because the impact on both adjoining properties, especially 19 Strathyre Drive, is extremely detrimental, so much so the owners have been forced to abandon their home,” he said.
The motion was unanimously supported.
Ms Page said reducing the density code in HOA1 was “not a quick or simple solution to any concerns residents have or discomfort they are experiencing”.
“The boundaries of the housing opportunity areas and the densities within them were carefully considered and in line with an agreed criteria with a solid urban planning basis,” she said.
“To make an ad hoc change to one of the housing opportunity areas so soon after adoption of the Local Housing Strategy would not be in the interests of orderly and proper planning and such a change is unlikely to be supported by the DoP and WAPC.”
Ms Page said if the City was to consider reducing the code, it could take more than 12 months and the City would not be able to prevent development during that time.
Other residents’ concerns raised included large mature trees being “chopped down to make way for large developments”, the increase in cars on local roads and where they would park and health and safety concerns during development construction.
City urged to do right by residents
THE City of Joondalup is being urged to “stand up and fight” for the residents of Duncraig.
Carine MLA Tony Krsticevic said while he understood the City’s draft Local Housing Strategy was “knocked back by the WA Planning Commission” in 2011, the City could “still push back”.
“Just because the bureaucrats say you have to do something, doesn’t mean you have to do it,” he said.
“You can still fight; you can still say ‘no, we don’t accept this on behalf of our residents’ because the WAPC can’t implement something unless you present it to them.
“If you give them a strategy which doesn’t include that same level of density or has some modifications to it, I think you’ve got that chance.
“I think it would have been great if the residents had the chance to have that fight.
“Even if they lost, at least they would have gone through the process; they would have had their say.
“I realise what you’re saying in that it may not be that easy to achieve an outcome but really what the residents are looking for is for you to stand up and fight for them, albeit at a late stage, to see if we can get some changes, some compromise or some improvements.”
Mayor Troy Pickard said “ultimately, local government is subservient to State Government”.
He said the City tried to implement a lower residential density coding but the WAPC said it was inadequate and did not meet the State’s objectives.
“The WAPC said ‘here is the coding and only at this coding will we endorse your entire strategy’,” he said.
“Unfortunately it’s not a situation where you can have a bit of give and take and negotiate and hopefully arrive at a good outcome.
“It’s the R codes that are allowing the type of development you’re seeing in your pocket of Duncraig and that’s completely out of our control.
“Much of what you are asking, we don’t have the power to do and this is the challenge; our powers to address your specific concerns just don’t exist.”
Mr Pickard said the City’s officers would now prepare a report on “what powers we do have to introduce some initiatives that may address the concerns”, which will be presented to the council at a future meeting.
He said this would include comments on the feasibility of “taking up the good fight” and requesting the WAPC to reduce the density coding to R20/R30 but he believed there would be a “negative response”.
“I can’t see the WAPC embracing a decoding, particularly given how hard they fought to get it to where it is, let alone they wanted us to go more.
However, he did say the council could have control over the “look and feel” of development.
“Where I think potentially there’s scope for council to address amenity issues is design guidelines,” he said.
“We do have them in some suburbs but there are risks associated with design guidelines; you get sameness occurring within your estate.
“If that’s desired by the local community, that’s potentially a realistic tool we have as a council.”
Ms Page reiterated the design guidelines would have to be in line with the R codes.
“It is frustrating for the City on occasion because we would like to put laws for presentation into our residential development policy to allow us to better control some things but we do not have the ability to do that,” she said.