Wanneroo warns developer contributions cap could mean rates increase

Facilities such as Splendid Park in Yanchep are funded through developer contribution plans.
Facilities such as Splendid Park in Yanchep are funded through developer contribution plans.

RATEPAYERS could face higher rates or get fewer community facilities if developer contributions are capped, the City of Wanneroo says.

The State Government is proposing to introduce a policy that could cap the amount of money councils collect from developers to fund future community facilities and infrastructure.

Wanneroo Council discussed its submission on the draft policy at the August 20 briefing session, highlighting the impact it might have on rates and the City’s ability to provide facilities.

Strategic land use planning and environment manager Emille van Heyningan said a worst case scenario could mean the City would have to increase rates by 2.6 per cent per year for 20 years to fund libraries, sports facilities and other community infrastructure.

The policy said a maximum levy of $2500 per dwelling in new developments was proposed for local facilities, which could be increased by $1000 for a combination of local, district and regional community infrastructure.

Mr van Heyningan said because the City tended to co-locate facilities and aimed to provide district facilities, it might be limited to claiming $1000 per dwelling.

“The City could be forced to scale back provision of those facilities,” he said.

“It could mean that the City needs to provide more local level facilities (which) has implications in terms of capital works cost as well as maintenance cost.”

If supported by the council on August 27, the City’s submission will say it did not support the introduction of caps, and ask that if caps were created, that the specific local and district caps be removed.

Mr van Heyningan suggested the submission seek assurances the State Government would provide extra funding to cover the gap, which could total $426 million in future developer contribution plans.

“It’s a substantial shortfall and there’s only a mere mention of alternative funding sources,” he said.

“It’s critical for the State Government to cover funding shortfalls.”

Although the policy said existing plans would remain valid if they had a set timeframe, a council report said if applied to the Alkimos Eglinton plan where rates equated to about $6650 per dwelling, it could mean a $52 million funding shortfall.

It said the cap would mean that only $20 million of facilities such as surf lifesaving clubs, playing fields, hard courts, libraries, community and indoor recreation centres could be provided, while the remaining projects would need to be removed, delayed or funded from other sources.

Developer contributions are used to build surf lifesaving clubs in Yanchep (pictured), Alkimos and Eglinton.

The current plan for Yanchep and Two Rocks charges $3100 per dwelling, with funds used to build the Yanchep Surf Life Saving Club, Splendid Park and future Capricorn coastal node facilities.

Mayor Tracey Roberts said it was a serious situation given the demand for the City to provide facilities to meet the needs of a growing population.

However, she said there was “no appetite to increase rates” among councillors.

Regarding urbanisation of east Wanneroo, the report said a draft plan included $350 million worth of community facilities, but the cap on developer contributions might result in a $300 million shortfall.

The WA Planning Commission is seeking comment on the revised State Planning Policy 3.6 infrastructure contributions until September 2.

Visit  www.dplh.wa.gov.au/draftspp3-6 for more information.

UPDATE, August 28: Councillor unanimously approved the submission at the August 27 meeting, and Cr Dot Newton said as a growth council, the City needed to put forward a strong submission.

Cr Frank Cvitan said he was not in favour of capping which he thought “would restrict growth in residential areas” and limit the City’s ability to provide facilities needed in the area.

Cr Brett Treby said the funding shortfall would come out of community infrastructure that people expected to see when they bought homes.

“Developers put the money in to build the facilities that those people will eventually use,” he said.

If developer contributions reduced, Cr Treby said it would increase pressure on rates or borrowing, which would affect future ratepayers.

Councillors also agreed to prepare a district planning scheme amendment regarding developer contributions in east Wanneroo cell 3, which covers 49ha in Wanneroo.

The change relates to upgrading Dundebar Road, which a council report said could cost $2.5 million and the City wanted contributions from developers for an urban precinct north of the road to cover half that cost.

The amendment, which will go to the WA Planning Commission and Environmental Protection Authority before public consultation takes place, would mean the infrastructure contribution per lot would be $16,116.

Wanneroo refunds developers $22 million