YANCHEP residents were disappointed with a decision to approve a BP fuel station on Newman Road today.
About 25 people opposing the $2 million development on the corner of Yanchep Beach Road attended the Metro North-West Development Assessment Panel meeting, with several giving presentations on their objections.
The number of people attending the November 19 meeting resulted in a change of venue to the Wanneroo Council Chambers.
Resident Warrick Palmateer said he was disappointed with the panel decision after the recommendation to approve it passed with support from three specialist members and two councillors voting against it.
“The whole process is designed to circumnavigate the community – they only have two people on the panel who are elected by the community,” he said.
Mr Palmateer talked about preserving the natural and cultural environment of the Yanchep Lagoon precinct during his presentation, calling for development to be “planned sensitively and unobtrusively”.
“This is the wrong location for this proposal,” he said.
“It will severely damage the look and feel of the unique coastal landscape.”
Two Rocks Yanchep Residents Association president Peter Wimsett said it was disappointing the group was denied an opportunity to give a presentation.
Yanchep resident Robert Figg talked about the definition of ‘convenience store’ during his presentation, and said under the planning laws, the proposal exceeded the 300sq m building size limit for a convenience store if fuel pumps and canopy were included.
Mr Figg said the proposal should have been classified as a service station with an incidental convenience store, and as such would have been a discretionary use that required a buffer zone.
The City of Wanneroo’s approval services manager Pas Bracone said the proposal could be defined as a convenience store, which was what the applicant Harley Dykstra Pty Ltd called it, and said there had been criticism of that definition.
“Whenever we receive an application for a convenience store now we include reference to petrol station to make it absolutely clear,” he said.
Asked if there was any difference between convenience store and service station uses, Mr Bracone said the latter was still capable of being approved at the business-zoned site.
Mr Figg also talked about the evacuation zone if a fire occurred at the fuel station, and said that would affect the Bethanie Beachside retirement complex and Yanchep Beach Primary School.
Resident Ryan Christonsen raised safety concerns for children and other pedestrians using the service road that runs parallel to Yanchep Beach Road, but Mr Bracone said traffic engineers found traffic movements resulting from the development would be acceptable.
Two Rocks resident Bob Davidson said he was concerned about the impact it would have on the Yanchep Beach Road-Two Rocks Road junction as well as the amenity and environment.
“This is not in the best interest of ratepayers of Yanchep,” he said.
“We are down on our collective knees begging you not to do it.”
Mr Bracone said Yanchep was growing and would continue to grow, with many developments contributing to increasing traffic levels.
According to the City’s traffic engineer, there are plans to widen Yanchep Beach Road and build a roundabout at the Two Rocks Road junction, potentially in about five to 10 years’ time.
Residents Rick Fennell and Wendy Stott also gave presentations against the proposal.
Joseph Calabro from Pearce MHR Christian Porter’s office said there was “overwhelming community opposition” to the development, as shown by the 152 objections of the 169 submissions received and a 297-signature petition against it.
Panel members acknowledged the objections to the proposal, however mover Sheryl Chaffer said the fuel station had benefits too, including the convenience of being close to Yanchep Lagoon.
Presiding member Karen Hyde said while it was a difficult decision the panel had to consider the application within the planning framework that listed the convenience store and showroom as permissible uses.
Speaking against the recommendation, Cr Samantha Fenn said “the day to day experience of residents in the area shouldn’t be overlooked”.
Ms Hyde successfully moved amendments to preserve natural bush as part of the site’s landscaping where possible and to change the operating hours from 6am to midnight to 6am to 7pm.
While members of the public cannot appeal against the decision, she said if the applicant appealed a DAP decision to refuse, defer or approve with conditions to the State Administrative Tribunal, the community could ask to make a presentation there.
Asked about other land uses next to the site, Mr Bracone said the adjacent site on Newman Road was zoned commercial and the site to the south was zoned private club and recreation, but the area was designated a commercial centre.
Mr Porter said he was disappointed with the decision for several reasons, “not least of all the impact it will have on the quiet beachside character of our Yanchep community”.
“Its close proximity to a school, aged care services and the Yanchep Lagoon itself all remain serious issues,” the Yanchep resident said.
“(The panel’s) decision is completely at odds with our community’s opposition to the proposal and it is disappointing that our voices weren’t heard or listened to.”