UPDATE: Stirling Mayor Mark Irwin says he will take community concerns about the development to the Education Minister.
Cr Irwin said the City supports the panel’s role to determine certain development applications but was disappointed in its decision to approve the ISWA proposal.
He noted council’s recommendation to refuse the application and its determinations that it was inconsistent with the site’s purpose, would adversely affect the amenity and character of the area and would involve removal of significant trees in a suburb that had one of the City’s highest loss of tree canopy.
“As the mayor I will be personally writing to the Minister to outline the City’s position and request a meeting to discuss the community’s concerns,” he said.
Cr Irwin submitted a motion at Tuesday night’sFeb 20 council meeting that sought investigation into purchase of the site by the City, if the application was refused by the panel.
EARLIER: THE International School of WA (ISWA) will relocate to Doubleview despite concerns from Stirling councillors and residents about loss of trees and increased traffic.
The Education Department’s application to move the private school from City Beach to a shared site with Doubleview Primary School was passed by the five-member Metro North-West Development Assessment panel this morning, despite Crs Bianca Sandri and Giovanni Italiano voting in line with Stirling council’s recommendation to refuse it.
Cr Italiano said the council and residents had worked hard to fight the development and believed they would now “suffer with this decision”.
“It’s a sad day that we’ve come to this end,” he said.
Cr Sandri believed a clause under the planning and development local scheme allowed for other planning considerations to be take into account, including the social impact and environmental amenity, which she suggested applied in the application’s case.
But deputy presiding member Ray Haeren said while he appreciated concerns, they seemed to be around the Education Department’s decision to relocate the school and the panel’s role was to judge the development application.
Presiding member Karen Hyde said the proponent went through “a number of appropriate steps” to meet requirements, including amending the plan to retain an additional 12 trees on the site.
Four local residents presented against the application, citing removal of 78 trees, increased traffic in the area, proposed schedule of shared oval use between the Doubleview and international schools and public use primary school zoning of the site as reasons for objection.
Sam Birmingham said the “significance of the trees on this site cannot be understated” and Simon Vanyai alleged it was “private works masquerading as public works”.
Resident Stuart McDonald believed the tree survey contained errors but Four Landscape Studio landscape architect Andrew Thomas said it had been done by a licensed professional.
He told the panel the plans were modified since the previous meeting to retain an additional 12 trees, which would be done by making the proposed two transportable classrooms into four separate buildings in the centre of the school, and new trees to be planted would result in a 5 per cent increase in canopy cover in the future at the site.
Mr McDonald was also worried that the traffic assessment on St Brigids Terrace did not include traffic counts from inside the school zone and queried figures, with Shawmac traffic engineer Leigh Dawson saying data was obtained from the City of Stirling and Main Roads.
Mr Dawson said traffic increased but it was below the maximum desirable levels and staggered start and finish times of the schools would ease traffic.
ISWA principal Maria Coates said the school was a tenant of the Education Department, which had proposed the relocation, and it was suitable as it was seeking a longer term lease.
According to her, 30 per cent of its students reside in the City of Stirling and 5 per cent live within a 5km radius of the Doubleview site, and hoped it would attract more local students.
The development comprises construction of a two-storey secondary school building, visual arts building, four transportable buildings relocated from the City Beach site, a bike storage facility, three on-site carparking areas providing 80 bays and a 2.1m high fence between the two schools.
Two existing teaching blocks, the library and covered assembly, canteen, music and art building will be retained, and students from the schools will share use of the oval, hard courts and sports hall.
Conditions include a maximum of 350 students on site at any time and start, finish and break times co-ordinated with the Doubleview school to ensure they do not overlap.
Kath Clements’ children attend Doubleview Primary and said after the meeting she was disappointed at the decision and hopes to table a petition in State Parliament that currently has more than 200 signatures objecting to the development.
“I just think our children are being treated as second class citizens,” she said.
“My children’s education is now going to be compromised.”