Protest groups pack Stirling council meeting as Scarborough redevelopment vote is delayed

Anthony James and Robyn Murphy with the Beach not Bitumen group in October last year. Picture: Andrew Ritchie www.communitypix.com.au d461005
Anthony James and Robyn Murphy with the Beach not Bitumen group in October last year. Picture: Andrew Ritchie www.communitypix.com.au d461005

CITY of Stirling councillors have delayed a State Government “land grab” relating to planned road extensions as part of the $75 million Scarborough redevelopment.

About 60 people from the Beach not Bitumen, Save our Sand Dunes, Friends of Trigg Beach and Friends of Trigg Bushland groups packed the public gallery at the council meeting last Tuesday to protest against the proposal, which would see land transferred from the City’s control to the State Government to accommodate the road plans.

Planning Minister Donna Faragher asked the City to relinquish the boundary to the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority (MRA) within a 30-day timeframe, but councillors voted to delay the item as they had a lack of information.

Ms Faragher’s letter said the MRA board had already approved the boundary changes and the council was required to only comment on the amendment.

Cr David Boothman said relevant environmental approvals and public consultation would still need to go ahead before the plans were finalised.

MRA chief executive Kieran Kinsella confirmed the boundary changes would not rule out the relevant environmental approvals.

Cr David Michael said councillors had received information about the proposal only that afternoon.

“Some information was emailed late this afternoon,” he said.

“We need more time and more information on this to allow for a further more detailed parking study, environmental approvals and it should be held over until the next meeting.”

The public gallery applauded Cr Michael’s response, to which Mayor Giovanni Italiano said the council meeting was not a “circus” and asked the public to refrain.

Stirling planning and development director Ross Povey said once the MRA had control of the land, the City would not be in a position to take the land back.

Beach not Bitumen convener Anthony James said residents were not aware of the controversial item until two days before the meeting and more community consultation was needed.

“We only found out on Saturday about this because a supporter had scoured the 150-page agenda,” he said.

“To think this might have been able to just to fly through council without anyone even knowing – that is not good enough.”