He gave the response during public question time at Tuesday night’s council meeting after a member of the public asked if council was prepared to go on public record as opposing the development without the guarantee of a marina.
After briefly conferring with chief executive Andrew Hammond, Cr Sammels answered: “I personally won’t accept a housing development without the marina, but I can’t speak on behalf of the council”.
“The City has maintained it will do what’s in the best interests of the community and we will keep doing that,” he said.
He also acknowledged an element of the community was strongly opposed to the development but stopped short of acknowledging it was “overwhelming” opposition.
His responses pre-empted a debate later in the meeting centred on a motion forwarded by Cr Matthew Whitfield that the City reaffirm its support of the plan.
He said the City had affirmed support in principal in 2012 but half of present councillors were not on council at that time. “We should put our names down in history as to who supports (the marina) here and now, not those who did in 2012,” he said.
Despite calling on council to reaffirm support, Cr Whitfield revealed he would prefer the marina not be built and the land be turned into a protected coastal park.
“I would vote for a coastal park over a marina any day,” he said.
“There is no anti-marina alternative before council though… the marina is the only option in front of us and we should do as residents ask.”
Cr Chris Elliot said there was no need to reaffirm support as it was no longer a proposal. “Things are happening now; it is no longer a proposal. Now all we can do is wait to see what the Metropolitan Regional Scheme amendment looks like and be an important player in the planning process.”
Crs Kathrine Summers and Joy Stewart both voiced their opposition to the marina development before the motion was defeated seven votes to two; Crs Whitfield and Lee Downham voted in favour of it.
City officers are still working on a structure plan for the development, which will be released for public comment.
An amendment to the MRS to rezone the land at Mangles Bay is also underway and is expected to be determined by the West Australian Planning Commission in late 2016 or early 2017.
Irrespective of the City’s eventual response to the MRS amendment, the WAPC will make the final determination on whether the development goes ahead.