Girrawheen: Objections to three-storey development on the rise

 Plan of entry courtyard from Strive Loop. Residents in Girrawheen are not happy over plans to build the apartment complex.
Plan of entry courtyard from Strive Loop. Residents in Girrawheen are not happy over plans to build the apartment complex.

GIRRAWHEEN residents are concerned about the negative effects that a three-storey development approved for Strive Loop will have on their suburb.

Owner Lam Property Development Group had their initial application for the $4.9 million project rejected by the Metro North-West Joint Development Panel in March but appealed to the State Administrative Tribunal.

Following mediation, Concept Building Design submitted an amended proposal for consideration at the August 11 meeting, which was passed by panel members 3-2.

Changes included reducing it by one dwelling to 41 units, decreasing the number of resident car parking bays from 59 to 50 plus three on-site visitor bays and increasing the amount of communal outdoor space from 173sq m to 580sq m.

The City of Wanneroo’s report found the amendments generally met the previous reasons for refusal and “sound justification” was provided to rationalise shortfalls in visitor parking bays and communal open spaces.

“Whilst the proposal continues to have a shortfall in car parking, deep soil area and communal open space, it is considered that the modified application has increased the provision of these elements and is a vast improvement from the initial application,” it said.

It recommended approval subject to 13 conditions, including that lighting be installed in all parking areas and planting and landscaping be carried out in accordance with plans submitted prior to the building’s occupation.

Girrawheen residents Stephen Hall, Eileen Pool and Sonia Garcia presented against the development, citing concerns about increased crime and antisocial behaviour, building height and incompatibility with the surrounding area, and lack of car parking bays.

Ms Garcia was worried the shortfall in visitor bays would affect neighbouring homes.

“I have serious concerns for my visitors if they have to park a long way away at night time or in severe weather,” she said.

Ms Pool believed it was the wrong type of development for Girrawheen, preferring townhouses or units with individual access, and wanted the developers to “start again”.

Concept’s Robert Forgione said they had moved storerooms and the bin storage area within the main building to reduce impact on the adjacent property, provided an additional pedestrian path for better movement around the site, increased the amount of outdoor space, created more cross ventilation and addressed worries about security.

“The whole complex is quite secure, there will be CCTV, security gates, key pads,” he said.

Planning Solutions planner Trent Will said the intent was to create “affordable housing” and had followed requirements from Blackmore Estate developer Landcorp.

He said there were 44 public bays within the estate, equating to one bay per 2.7 homes and there were 15 directly in front of the Strive Loop site.

Acting deputy presiding member Paul Drechsler and specialist member John Syme believed the communal courtyard areas would be mostly shaded while the carpark was not but Mr Forgione said plans used a software program based on conditions at noon in June and they had engaged a landscape architect.

Presiding member Karen Hyde moved to approve the proposal, which was seconded by Wanneroo councillor Russell Driver, and noted since the March meeting the applicant had “come back with a response to each of those reasons for refusal” and the City was satisfied with the outcome.

“I think the appropriate processes have been followed,” she said.

The panel added conditions to require the developer to reduce the heat load on the carpark through shade structures or trees and provide a crime prevention analysis.

The amended recommendation was passed, with Ms Hyde and Crs Driver and Frank Cvitan voting in favour and Mr Syme and Mr Drechsler against.

Ms Pool said afterwards that the building was too high and incompatible with the area, while Mr Hall reiterated his safety concerns, worrying it would become “a slum of the future”.

“This is going to exacerbate the problem of crime,” he said.

“It’s fantastic architecture; it’s just in the wrong location.”

Girrawheen MLA Margaret Quirk presented against the development at the March meeting and said she was disappointed with this outcome.

“What the decision does is consign the adjacent residences to parking and traffic problems and loss of amenity,” she said.

“This is undoing all the good work that the New North program has done in the suburb over the past two decades.”