THERE were tears of relief from Yanchep residents at this week’s Wanneroo City council meeting following its decision to request removal of a golf course fence.
Two residents made deputations prior to the meeting, detailing issues faced since Sun City Country Club erected a 2.4m high barbed wire fence near the boundary of adjoining properties in Yanchep Golf Estate late last year, in addition to an existing 1.1m subdivisional fence.
Fiona Elliott said she and her partner had chosen to build on Parkland Drive because of its outlook to the golf course.
“It’s most certainly not the same as when we bought the block,” she said.
Neighbour Barry Powell agreed and said residents had been “unjustly accused of vandalism and criminal behaviour” by the club.
“The fencing gives a feeling of imprisonment rather than security,” he said.
The club had applied for retrospective development approval for the fencing, which the City recommended supporting, but Mayor Tracey Roberts introduced an alternative recommendation to refuse it that was passed unanimously by councillors.
She said the fence had affected the lifestyle residents had chosen.
“It has impacted negatively on where they live and this had been caused by an unauthorised structure,” she said.
“Residents have felt certain degrees of unease with golf course management and employees; that simply is not to be tolerated.
“We really do need to make a very clear statement to the landowners.”
Councillor Natalie Sangalli was also concerned with the fence’s impact on homeowners and believed the club had shown “blatant disregard” for the City’s planning processes.
“I can’t support a fence that intrudes on someone else’s lifestyle like this one does,” she said.
Cr Dianne Guise believed the club could have consulted with residents before erecting the fence while Cr Linda Aitken criticised its refusal to accept an offer made by developer Peet to cover costs of a slightly shorter replacement fence.
There was applause and some tears from the gallery after the decision, which gives the club 28 days to remove the structure otherwise the City will commence legal proceedings against it.
Resident Heather Powell felt “delighted and relieved” after the outcome.
“There were a lot of tears, a lot of people were deeply disturbed by the club’s behaviour,” she said.
“As a community we’ve tried at all times to behave decently and appropriately, and tried to communicate in a friendly manner but at all times it was rebuffed.”
Mrs Powell was cautious in celebrating because of the club’s previously stated intention to appeal to the State Administrative Tribunal, which president Greg Mitchell confirmed.
He believed the club had been sent mixed signals by the City, as they had been encouraged to install fencing previously to stop kangaroos moving from the course to adjacent housing.
“We acted in good faith by putting the fence up,” he said.
Mr Mitchell said the application related to about 400m of fencing that was intended to protect the course.
“We won’t be pulling the fence down,” he said.
Mrs Powell was hopeful the decision would be upheld.
“We’ve done all that any community can do and now we have to leave it,” she said.
“If the fence is taken down there will just be relief and an attempt to try to return to a friendly co-operation between residents and members of the club.
“We’re all hoping that time will heal wounds and we can get back to being one friendly, co-operative community.”
Apology for gun scare
PEET has apologised for alarming Yanchep residents on Wednesday when a man carrying what appeared to be a gun was spotted in the estate.
Chief executive Brendan Gore said the man was hired to tranquilise and relocate a small group of kangaroos to bushland after a resident raised concerns about the animals.
“Peet was very concerned to hear residents had been alarmed by the fauna relocator, and we’re very sorry that this caused undue distress for our residents,” he said.
“The relocator at the estate was not the same as the person used previously, though he was from the same firm.”
Mr Gore said the Department of Parks and Wildlife and police were advised prior to the relocation but Peet would work with a local wildlife group and community representatives if more relocations were required.
“All residents have been advised of the approved approach to protecting fauna in the area and been given advice about what to do and what not to do with local fauna including kangaroos,” he said.
“Peet will also request that contractors undertaking relocation work are clearly identifiable and erect temporary signs to allay any concerns.”
One kangaroo was moved during Wednesday’s exercise and four were relocated two days earlier.