Cottesloe councillors unhappy with lack of McCall Centre public consultation

Premier Colin Barnett. Photo: Jon Bassett
Premier Colin Barnett. Photo: Jon Bassett

COTTESLOE councillors have expressed concern about the lack of council-requested public consultation around the proposed rezoning of the McCall Centre.

The site is expected to sell for $20 million and help pay ballooning State Government debt.

“It seems to me to be another example of the council starting negotiations with a proponent months before it comes to councillors,” Cr Sally Pyvis said at the December meeting.

The Government proposes to change the zoning of 1.2ha at the centre – the former Empire Telegraph Station on the Cottesloe-Mosman Park border – to urban, but the adjacent Beehive Montessori School would be unaffected.

In November, Mosman Park councillors agreed to the change but were also manoeuvring council to lobby for whatever was built at the centre to link their planned improvements to Buckland Hill with the coast.

In Cottesloe, there are concerns any development could be out of scale with the landmark site on Curtin Avenue into Cottesloe.

“To have something put up that we didn’t want would be an absolute travesty,” Cr Katrina Downes said.

Cr Sandra Boulter said she was “shocked” to get the staff report supporting a rezoning, and wanted to know what had happened to the initial public comment she had made the council agree to in August, and what specific type of uses urban zoning would allow.

“I think there has been a complete breakdown in communication between the councillors and the staff,” Cr Boulter said.

She said information in a letter that was not sent from Mosman Park bush carers about the centre’s site being important to history because of its link to the 17th century landing of Dutch explorer Willem de Vlamingh, was local knowledge that should go to the WA Planning Commission (WAPC).

In supporting the rezoning, Mayor Jo Dawkins said she was not concerned about “major development” at the site because council and the public could comment to the WAPC before any Metropolitan Regional Scheme change.

Development services manager Andrew Jackson said urban allowed recreational, civic, institutional and commercial uses, and the rezoning was just a proposal on which the public could comment once it was decided what may go on the site later.