TEMPERS flared during a State Government community forum for City of Wanneroo residents last Wednesday.
About 100 people packed clubrooms at the Wanneroo Showground to hear from representatives from the Premier and Cabinet and Planning departments about the Perth and Peel Green Growth Plan for 3.5 million.
Project director Simon Taylor told the audience the plan was the result of four years’ work and designed to cater for population growth while streamlining environmental approvals and securing conservation areas.
“This was a whole of government exercise; we tried to bring together competing interests,” he said.
“We’re able to make big picture decisions to protect environmental areas.”
He said he understood the 2600-page document was “a lot to digest” but defended criticism about a lack of public consultation.
“We’re trying to deal with in a way that’s very transparent,” he said.
Mr Taylor said a “large amount” of work had been done to inform the community, which was met with resounding calls of “no” from the audience.
Things became fiery when Mayor Tracey Roberts asked why councillors’ earlier presentation differed from the one delivered to residents and reiterated it was not a City document.
“The concern we have is the lack of clarity, we have asked for extensive public consultation and detailed mapping,” she said.
Wanneroo MLA Paul Miles said the public comment period could be extended.
“If we need to extend that consultation for another month or two we will,” he said.
There were repeated calls for more detailed information and mapping, with residents citing an inability to identify implications for their property, but Mr Taylor said the maps made available on March 24 were at a 1:10,000 scale.
“That’s very detailed for a map of this scale,” he said.
Other concerns included cost implications, basic raw materials extraction and the plan’s contradiction with the Metropolitan Region Scheme amendment to rezone areas in east Wanneroo, also open for public comment.
The debate was often heated, with many residents becoming frustrated with what they regarded as inadequate responses.
Wanneroo resident Kate Coughlan says the Green Growth Plan community forum was a “farce” and “absolute disgrace”.
She became aware of the forum eight days prior, after submitting a petition with 100 signatures requesting it, and scrambled to inform other residents.
“It wasn’t made known to most people,” she said.
“It shows the utmost disdain for people in the Wanneroo area.”
Mrs Coughlan was unhappy with the lack of information provided to residents at the meeting and called the answers “obtuse and indirect”.
“The preparation for that meeting was inadequate,” she said.
“I was hoping to see large maps where people could have identified their property.”
Her property is one of four part of a Metropolitan Region Scheme amendment to be rezoned from rural to urban deferred but she is concerned this might not go ahead as under the plan it is marked as an area requiring further investigation.
“How do these two things work together?” she said.
“On one hand you have the WA Planning Commission saying urban deferred and on the other hand the Department of Premier and Cabinet saying it needs further investigation.”
Mrs Coughlan said the plan had created uncertainty for landowners.
“They’re playing with people’s lives,” she said.
“There’s a lot of unknowns and that’s what causing people angst.
“I would like to get another meeting that’s done properly.”