BGC forced to pay for public art at Hazelmere site

BCG site at 398 Bushmead Road, Hazelmere. Picture: Google maps
BCG site at 398 Bushmead Road, Hazelmere. Picture: Google maps

CONSTRUCTION material company BGC is being forced to pay at least $50,500 for public art as part of its multi-million dollar development at its Hazelmere site.

City of Swan approved BGC to develop a $5.05 million asphalt facility on its industrial site at Bushmead Road, Stirling Crescent and Lakes Road.

The approval was granted last year on the condition the company paid the City a minimum of $50,500 in lieu of on-site public art.

On behalf of BGC, applicant Rowe Group took the matter to the Metro East Joint Development Assessment Panel in March where the officer’s recommendation was supported by the panel 3-2.

Representing the company, lawyer Michael Hotchkin said there was no public element to the site and it could not be accessed by the community.

Mr Hotchkin said if the City’s public art policy stood as is, all industrial sites would need public art which was ridiculous.

“It’s not a condition that is relevant to this development,” he said.

“Policy guides and has to be imposed on development on its merit.

“No one can see it (the public art) other than the people working there.”

According to a City report, the addition of an asphalt facility to the 18.58ha “highly visible” site would increase the number and frequency of employees and visitors while having a wider impact on the surrounding area.

Mr Hotchkin said the additional industrial use of the site would only increase employee numbers by about six people, which he believed did not facilitate the need for public art.

City officer Philip Russell said the site “absolutely” did warrant public art, whether the development was publically visible or not.

Councillor Charlie Zannino acknowledged the development was landlocked and said although it was set back about 100m from the road, the art could be placed elsewhere on the site.

“All developments get to comply with this public art policy,” he said.

“We need to be consistent and if we approved the removal of the policy on this occasion, we would be opening up a can of worms.”

Cr Rod Henderson said the policy had gaps and that in this circumstance the actual expansion would have no further community impact and therefore did not warrant the need for public art.

Mr Hotchkin this week lodged an application to have the decision reviewed by the State Administration Tribunal.

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