City of Stirling planning review comes under fire from councillors

A CITY of Stirling planning review has come under fire from councillors who voted this month to keep the process “transparent and independent”.

The review was sparked by a public backlash against three major developments, with residents at a special electors meeting last year calling out “systemic planning failures” by the City.

Amid applause from the public gallery at the meeting, Councillor Terry Tyzack presented a motion to remove secrecy from the review process, make the independent reviewer known to the public and engage a lawyer with planning experience.

“The process needs to be truly transparent and independent,” he said. “The report failed on both counts; it outlines why we shouldn’t do what my motion seeks to do.

“I want to see procedural fairness. Elected members should be given more control of the process.”

Initially, the report did not detail who would make up the planning review panel, who would appoint members or who would be the independent planner. The council report stated the review had already had “significant media attention” and identifying the independent planner could have negative impacts.

Cr David Lagan said he had several concerns with the “secrecy” of the council’s report.

“This is not an ASIO report; it was a request from the community to review the City’s planning processes; why the secrecy?” he said.

“It is unnecessary; I can easily find online the Australian Federal Police terms of reference.”

Cr Samantha Jenkinson said the process could be “tricky” because there were many elements of planning that the City did not have control over such as Joint Development Assessment Panels.

Mayor Giovanni Italiano said there was no budget set for the review after Cr Keith Sargent raised concerns engaging a lawyer could “blow out the budget”.