City of Stirling council delays handover of land for road extensions

Scarborough foreshore.
Scarborough foreshore.

MORE than 150 protesters packed City of Stirling council chambers last night, where councillors decided to delay the handover of Scarborough land for proposed road extensions as part of the $75 million foreshore redevelopment.

Groups opposed to the road extensions through two Bush Forever sites booed and cheered as councillors debated the controversial item, dubbed a “land grab” by protest groups.

During public question time, Mayor Giovanni Italiano cut off the microphone mid-sentence saying Scarborough resident and former Curtin Vice Chancellor John Maloney’s question was “inappropriate and out of order”.

Mr Maloney said his blocked question related to a statement made at a previous council meeting by Stirling planning and development director Ross Povey about the Bush Forever sites.

“At the last meeting, Mr Povey indicated to the council and the public that the two areas of land related to where the roads were going were not Bush Forever land; this is a major development and it is most unusual for a director of planning not to be on top of these matters,” he said.

“This leaves members of the public and council wondering whether they were being misled purposefully or whether the planning director is not on top of his portfolio.”

Councillor Karen Caddy presented a motion to request the Planning Minister defer the boundary changes proposed by the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority (MRA) and explore other options in consultation with the City and community.

“It is important that feasible alternatives be explored and tested so that the council and the community can have the confidence that it is moving forward with the best option for Scarborough,” she said.

“Council believes that it is important that this process is conducted in open consultation with the community.”

Cr Caddy said the community had not been able to access information in a transparent way.

“The community has not been brought along for this journey,” she said.

Cr Terry Tyzack said councillors had a “lack of confidence” in the MRA’s consultation processes and objectives.

“I’m deeply concerned about how the community has been devoid of information and so have the elected members, we are not being treated as equal partners in this project,” he said.

Cr David Lagan said the motion would only act to delay the road extensions and the City needed to “stand up”.

“We don’t have to take whatever the MRA says, this is not our baby,” he said.

“We need to stand up as the City of Stirling and conduct our business ourselves.

“We’re looking forward to working with the MRA and City to look at other options.”

Cr Lagan advocated options such as light rail be explored as an alternative to the roads.

Cr Samantha Jenkinson said the matter did not go far enough and Bush Forever sites needed to stay that way.

Beaches not Bitumen convener Anthony James said the roads clearly contravened the Bush Forever areas but was glad the item was delayed.

“Our baseline is to get the roads off the agenda and talk about the options that can be explored,” he said.

“It’s not a solution because it keeps the roads on the agenda when they really shouldn’t be, but at least council have voted to open up the process to consultation that includes other options, which is what it should have been from the beginning as opposed to the current situation where the roads were the MRA’s starting point; there were no other options on the table.”

Friends of Trigg Beach convener Robyn Murphy said the next step for the group would be presenting a 1600-signature petition to State Parliament against the road extensions.

“We want the Minister and the MRA to get rid of these roads, they are not wanted by the community,” she said.

“There has been an overwhelming community opposition to these roads for environmental reasons, for access, traffic.”

The MRA and the Planning Minister have been contacted for comment.