OWNERS of a Mariginiup mushroom farm seeking to expand their business have had their retrospective building application refused by the Wanneroo City Council.
City officers originally recommended granting approval for five structures built on Lion Mushrooms’ Rousset Road property but councillor Frank Cvitan moved an alternative recommendation for refusal at last week’s council meeting.
Reasons for objection included that a significant expansion would entrench an activity inconsistent with the area’s future urbanisation.
The alternative recommendation was approved unanimously and included to uphold conditions imposed in 2012 that the farm would need to close within three years of the area being rezoned urban or in 2019.
It required the applicant to remove all unauthorised structures within 28 days but after debate from councillors was amended to include “unless otherwise authorised by the chief executive.”
Cr Cvitan said the owners’ intention to increase production of mushrooms was a “worry”.
“I’ve had a considerable number of complaints,” he said.
“The increased productivity affects all the residents in the area.”
The Central Ward councillor said he was also concerned the owners built the structures without approval.
“This particular item needs to set an example,” he said.
“If we allow this retrospective approval it may set a precedent and send out the wrong message to the community.”
Nguyet Doan said her father, farm owner Tiep Doan, was pressured by buyers to increase the farm’s production of mushrooms.
“He was trying to please his buyers,” she said.
“They want to export our mushrooms but we can’t even meet the local buyers.
“They want more and more.”
Ms Doan said the family-run business was one of two mushroom farms left in WA after Wanneroo’s Crown Mushrooms closed in 2014, which supplied half the local market.
Lion Mushrooms’ products are available in markets including Wanneroo and Canning Vale and IGA stores.
“We thought the council would understand and support local business,” Ms Doan said.
Despite the increased output, Ms Doan said her father did not want to continue the business long-term.
“He’s been working hard all his life and he wants to retire,” she said.
“Once (the land) is urban he won’t be working anymore.”
She said the decision would affect its supplies so they would assess their options, including appealing.