City of Stirling joins chorus of local govts against Property Council reports, labelling it ‘inaccurate’ and ‘flawed’

City of Stirling joins chorus of local govts against Property Council reports, labelling it ‘inaccurate’ and ‘flawed’

THE City of Stirling has slammed an “inaccurate” and “flawed” Properly Council report, which ranks the council eighth for town planning performance out of 32 local governments.

Stirling acting chief executive Ross Povey said the report used four scoring measures for Local Planning Strategy, Local Planning Scheme, delegation and timelines and overall, the City was ranked eighth but the correct score should have placed the City equal forth.

“It is fair to say if it is incorrect for us, then it is probably incorrect for other local governments and WALGA has been highly critical of the report, labelling it ‘erroneous’,” he said.

“The report does not accurately recognise a changing statutory planning environment with the introduction of new planning regulations in October 2015 (by the State Government) or the complexity and funding issues that arise with urban regeneration projects.

“The irony is significant delays by the Department of Planning and the WA Planning Commission have been experienced in bringing a number of projects to finalisation,’ Mr Povey said.

A Property Council of WA spokeswoman said all the data featured in the report was provided by the local councils themselves.

Several councils, including the cities of Vincent and Wanneroo, and Town of Cambridge, have criticised the report and stated the ranking scores were incorrect.

City of Vincent Mayor John Carey said the document was “sloppy and simplistic”.

Property Council WA executive director Lino Iacomella said the Property Council received mixed responses.

“A number of councils that scored highly for their planning performance chose to explain how well their planning systems are working,” he said.

“Other councils that achieved lower scores questioned some of the parameters of the survey, which we are working through with them.

“The Property Council is confident the survey results are correct based on information received, however we are also discussing the individual results with individual councils that have concerns, including the City of Stirling.”

Mr Iacomella said the Property Council did not expect the information would need to be amended but a follow up survey would be completed in “the next year or so”.

“We commissioned an independent researcher to conduct the survey,” he said.

“The survey only asked for the performance of councils in meeting their planning obligations, including having an up-to-date local planning strategy and a local planning scheme; the level of delegation to planning officers in councils for routine planning applications; and the turnaround time for processing planning applications.

“All of these measures are clear-cut and objective.”