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

Anthony James and Robyn Murphy with other Beach not Bitumen members.
Anthony James and Robyn Murphy with other Beach not Bitumen members.

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

Around 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 night to protest the item, which would see land transferred from the City’s control to the State Government to accommodate the road plans.

Planning Minister Donna Faragher made a request for 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.

The Minister’s letter said the MRA board had already approved the boundary changes and the council was only required to 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.

Cr David Michael said councillors had only received information relevant to the item 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 is 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.

“The first issue is what do the people of Stirling want to happen here?

“Does the council support this sheer handover? At least they decided to consider it to gage some of the consequences.”

Stirling planning and development director Ross Povey said at the meeting the land was not protected by State Planning Policy Bush Forever.

However, a City of Stirling spokeswoman later confirmed the southern boundary amendment fell partially within the Bush Forever Site 310 and the northern boundary fell with the Bush Forever Site 308.

The motion was supported by Councillor Mark Irwin, who was questioned by the groups after the meeting.

“This is simply an administration process which will bring this in line with the MRA’s Master Plan,” he said at the meeting.

“This is not a handover of land and it will allow the public to comment.”

The MRA has been contacted for comment.

The motion was deferred and will be voted on at the next meeting.