Decision on proposed International School of WA in Doubleview deferred

Objectors to the proposed relocation of the International School of WA to Doubleview, Lisa Thornton and Stuart McDonald. Picture: Martin Kennealey d476505
Objectors to the proposed relocation of the International School of WA to Doubleview, Lisa Thornton and Stuart McDonald. Picture: Martin Kennealey d476505

THE decision on a proposed international school in Doubleview has again been deferred.

Metro North-West Development Assessment Panel members voted to defer the Education Department’s application to relocate the International School of WA (ISWA) to a shared site with Doubleview Primary School at its meeting this morning.

Five residents presented against the proposal, citing concerns about the removal of trees, increased traffic, parking issues, ISWA student numbers and the zoning of the area for primary school use.

Kath Clements said the relocation would increase demand on the primary school and argued the reasons for the move were “tenuous at best”, and Paul Harris believed the site should cater for anticipated growth of the area.

“Shouldn’t we be using this land for future primary school students where the demand is” he said.

Hall Jackson was concerned the 350-student capacity quoted in the application was not realistic and would not be able to be regulated, while Stuart McDonald contended he found when comparing plans that additional trees would be removed.

ISWA principal Maria Coates told attendees the “boutique” school had high academic standards, was open to all students and would happily share its grounds and facilities with the primary school and community.

She clarified the school had aspirations to grow to 600 students under its previous strategic plan but was working on a new plan that would comply with the application, and had not exceeded 350 students in its 12-year history.

According to TPG + Place Match associate Dan Lees, a review following the proposal’s previous referral in July found an additional mature tree could be retained on site, new plantings would increase by 45 and it would be a “green, leafy school”.

He also acknowledged an error in staff numbers and provided an update on Thursday that meant there would be an additional 13 staff on site, resulting in a “negligible” difference of 26 extra vehicle movements per day, which City of Stirling approvals manager Greg Bowering said its traffic engineers had not assessed.

When presiding member Karen Hyde queried the trees Mr McDonald mentioned, Mr Lees said they might not have been “picked up” as the trunk diameter was less than the 150mm requirement for mature trees.

The panel had two recommendations – one from Stirling Council to refuse the application and the other from the City’s officers to approve subject to conditions, which Ms Hyde described as “unusual”.

Councillor Giovanni Italiano moved an alternative motion to defer the decision for further consultation with residents regarding traffic and tree retention but Ms Hyde clarified it would not enable more consultation, the agenda would simply be made available a week prior to the next meeting.

Panel members voted 4-0 in favour of deferral, which would occur after February, as it would allow a revised assessment from the City on the tree survey and an updated traffic report.

Cr David Boothman was an apology from the meeting and his replacement Cr Elizabeth Re was disqualified because of impartiality interests as she worked casually for the Education Department, resided in the Doubleview ward, was aware of the application as a Stirling councillor and social media activity regarding the proposal.

Cr Italiano also declared an impartiality interest as a councillor.

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