Wanneroo Council rejects Banksia Grove child care development

Stock image.
Stock image.

WANNEROO Council has knocked back an application for a child care centre in Banksia Grove.

Atlantis Group owner Bob Hindle applied to build a centre on a 5000sq m block on Harbour Elbow, however the majority of councillors voted to refuse the application at their October meeting.

Atlantis Group representatives and residents opposed to it gave deputations about the proposal on the special residential block prior to the meeting.

Mr Hindle, who started his first child care centre in the City in 1996, said he wanted to provide education centred around nature and a healthy lifestyle.

“We want to allow them space and freedom where they can express themselves,” he said.

He said “many children today grow up without backyards” unlike the “relatively free range environment for children of yesteryear”.

An artist’s impression of the child care centre.

 

Karun Cowper, who lives next to the site, said it was “basically a small primary school” and raised concerns about the traffic on Greenvale Place.

“There’s no way that can exist without having some impact on this community,” he said.

Resident Lee-Anne Martin said about 20 people usually drove down Greenvale Place, but the development could potentially result in 200 to 300 cars using the road to access the childcare centre.

Resident Geoff Westlake said while a child care use was discretionary, that referred to a residential child care, not a commercial centre.

Sally Westlake said it would most affect immediate neighbours, including families with children who rode horses in the area.

Banksia Grove Residents Association president Michael Richards also talked about the impact on lifestyle, removal of trees, and impact on wildlife.

“Just because it’s allowed does not make it right,” he said.

“Banksia Grove already has commercial zones – why should residents have to give up their lifestyle so a commercial enterprise can establish a business?”

Cr Linda Aitken moved the staff recommendation to approve the discretionary use on the special residential block.

She said it was a good goal for looking after children instead of “battery hen child care centres”.

Cr Russell Driver, who declared an impartiality interest because he knew the applicant, said while he sympathised with residents, there were a lot of child care centres abutting residential lots in other areas.

Cr Dot Newton opposed the development, citing concerns about the number of trees being cut down for parking.

She said the special residential zone acted as a buffer between the semi-rural properties in Carramar and suburban homes in Banksia Grove.

“It’s not what it is; it’s where it is,” she said.

Residents and councillors raised concerns about clearing bush for parking and traffic the child care centre would generate.

Cr Samantha Fenn said she could not support having 120 children and 21 staff on the site as it was “too big and not sensitive enough to the residents and amenity”.

Cr Brett Treby acknowledged “change is coming” to the area with the development of east Wanneroo, but voted against the proposal in the special residential area.

After the recommendation was lost, Cr Newton successfully moved an alternative to refuse the application.

“The proposal may have a negative impact on the amenity of the surrounding residents by way of increased noise and increased traffic,” she said.

Although some councillors raised concerns the applicant would appeal to the State Administrative Tribunal, Cr Newton said she would never support an application based on a worry it would go to SAT.

Crs Aitken, Driver and Sonet Coetzee voted against the alternative motion, while Crs Frank Cvitan, Fenn, Lewis Flood, Denis Hayden, Paul Miles, Hugh Nguyen, Treby, Domenic Zappa and Mayor Tracey Roberts supported it.

During public consultation, the City received 25 submissions objecting to the proposal, 13 supporting it and a 152-signature petition supporting it.