All at sea over container issue

Sea containers at a Victoria Park home. Pictures: Martin Kennealy
Sea containers at a Victoria Park home. Pictures: Martin Kennealy

At last Tuesday night’s meeting, councillors debated the merits of refusing planning approval for sea containers in the backyards of homes on Berwick Street in St James and Cookham Road in Lathlain.

But with no clear consensus, councillors agreed with a recommendation from Cr Brian Oliver to defer the issue to the Town’s December round of meetings so it could be further discussed at workshops.

The Town was forced to ask the owners of a sea container stored in the front yard of a St James home that prompted complaints to request planning approval for other containers in the rear yard, after the subject of the initial complaint was removed.

The owners appealed in person to councillors at the October 7 public briefing session to keep the sea containers, which they used as secure storage sheds.

Cr Mark Windram kicked off debate at last week’s meeting by saying he had tried and failed to find a basis for disagreeing with council officers’ recommendations that planning approval be refused, resulting in the removal of the sea containers.

‘I have been trying to find a reason to say yes, but I haven’t found anything,’ he said.

‘We are not Freo and I like it that way.’

Cr Vince Maxwell and Cr Vicki Potter said the issue was the containers’ appearance and they wanted to explore a screening method to solve the problem.

Acting future life and built life director Robert Cruickshank said the problem was that there was no specific council law that dealt with sea containers.

Cr Vin Nairn pointed out that sea containers were used at Kent Street Senior High School (KSSHS).

An Education Department spokesperson told the Gazette it did not have any rules or specifications about sea containers at schools.

KSSHS deputy principal Paul Currie said two sea containers on the school site were used to store old furniture from statewide public schools for a Rotary project that donated them to Timor, while another was historically used for sports equipment storage.