Development challenge

Karen Poole and Peter Cottee and other Gwelup residents are concerned about development plans for the Careniup swamp.
Picture: Andrew Ritchie   d449872
Karen Poole and Peter Cottee and other Gwelup residents are concerned about development plans for the Careniup swamp. Picture: Andrew Ritchie d449872

The application, which would include up to 57 single dwelling and 10 group dwelling lots, was rejected because it did not comply with the City’s development plan for density and vehicle access.

Karen Poole, who lives opposite the wetlands, said she never realised the land was privately owned until the multi-unit dwellings development was proposed last month.

“I understand the owner wants to develop his land and he has every right to do so, but please keep the development in sync with the surrounding natural area,” Ms Poole said.

“What the owner proposed before was heart breaking for us all (residents in the area).

“We purchased our dream block of land here 23 years ago and chose our block for the enjoyment of the flora and fauna of the wetlands and the rustic outlook of the hobby farm adjacent to us and had our home designed around this.

“All we want is for the development to be in keeping with our lovely and tranquil area, the wetlands left alone and for the beautiful canopy in Carslake Grove to remain without lots of houses jammed in along Carslake Grove.”

According to ‘Liveable Neighbourhood’ guidelines, at least 10 per cent of public open space area should be preserved if the area is developed.

A spokeswoman for the landowner confirmed the land would eventually be developed.

“The structure plan that was submitted to the City of Stirling is trying to create affordable modern lots to suit today’s family lifestyles,” she said.

“The creation of public open space being well in excess of 10 per cent will create an opportunity for families to extend their back yard by using the public open space thereby minimising yard maintenance on those homeowners.

“After discussions at the conclusion of the council meeting with neighbours, further consultation is being considered to help to provide everyone with a satisfactory outcome.”

The spokeswoman said the landowner would welcome suggestions by parties with an interest to improve the outcome for all concerned.

“The landowner is simply trying to get the best price for the land and is hiring professionals to help him with that,” she said.

Resident Peter Cottee said he supported maintaining as much of the wetlands and existing tree cover as possible

“There isn’t much the City can do to preserve privately owned land; it comes back to what the owner wants to be remembered for,” Mr Cottee said. “What legacy does he want to leave in Gwelup?

“He can take the attitude of joining the mass developer and get every penny out of it that I can or do better than that and maintain as much of the swamp system as possible.”

Stirling natural areas and conservation officer Jo Taylor said the area was “very ecologically valuable” and was home to over 70 bird species.

Stirling approvals manager Greg Bowering said the core area of the swamp had to be maintained.

“The importance of the area to the community is specifically recognised in the City’s Local Planning Scheme No.3, which sets out the various special considerations required for undertaking development within the area,” Mr Bowering said.

“However the City does not have the ability to require the retention of trees on private property.”