Wannanup tavern proposal ‘dividing’ community


The controversial building at Port Quays.
The controversial building at Port Quays.

A COMMUNITY divided by a proposed tavern.

That was how City of Mandurah councillor Tahlia Jones described a controversy over an application for a change of use from restaurant to tavern at Wannanup at this week’s council planning meeting.

Cr Jones told the meeting the proposed tavern on the canal at Northport was not consistent with canal zoning and would have a negative effect on the character of the area.

The planning committee voted to reject the application and will make a final decision at its meeting next week.

The applicant, owner of the multi-Gold Plate Award-winning City Beach restaurant Lo Zucchero, wants to operate a food-based venue for a maximum 140 patrons under a tavern licence.

It could also include a microbrewery.

The proposal was advertised to 370 landowners last November with a public information meeting held the following month.

It attracted 105 submissions, with slightly more in support than opposed.

Council officers had considered the application should be approved providing a number of conditions resulted in the tavern operating in a similar manner to a restaurant.

Those conditions would include noise management measures for background and live music, restrictions on alfresco use, monitoring of patrons and a focus on food.

Residents packed the gallery at this week’s meeting.

Carl Bettencourt opposed the proposal and asked the council to support the majority of ratepayers who opposed it.

“We pay the highest rates in Mandurah,’’ he said.

Supporter Colin Ceresa built his home five years ago in what he believed would be a “thriving community hub”.

“One of the reasons was the site had always been earmarked as a food and beverage facility,’’ he said.

He said some businesses had tried and failed and the tavern would bring more people to the area.

But for the owner of the penthouse above the proposed tavern, life became “a nightmare” when she learned of the proposal.

She said there was already a bottle shop in the complex and parking would become an enormous problem.

“Our quality of life will… we won’t have a quality of life,’’ she said.

According to Lee Cox, who supports the proposal, it had quickly become evident most people at the public meeting supported the application.

He claimed “a vocal minority” was opposed.

“The area needs some action and a tavern would provide it,’’ he said.

Cr Fred Reibeling said even those who strenuously opposed a tavern believed a restaurant was the best bet for the site.

However, he said a microbrewery should not be allowed in a residential area; “I know of no other in WA,’’ he said.