Council fire complicates path to clarity

Earlier this year, the WAPC was told by the Swan River Trust that developers could use any unapproved paths, sheds or buildings around the bay to justify future construction in the Trust’s Development Control Area (DCA).

The Trust asked the WAPC to catalogue the unapproved buildings and their possible impact on future planning applications before the Metropolitan Region Scheme was amended for a new parks and recreation reserve that included the bay’s western cliffs, on May 28.

‘The WA Planning Commission has advised that it was not possible to ascertain the validity of development at this location as the Town of Claremont’s records were lost in a fire that destroyed the Town’s previous premises,’ a Swan River Trust spokesman said.

In the amendment’s report, the WAPC said it found no unapproved buildings during record searches, after which satellite images were used for the reserve’s new 3.5km boundary from Devils Elbow, Peppermint Grove to Point Resolution, Dalkeith.

Town Planner David Caddy, who represented residents who fear a public path will be built on top of the cliffs, said if the WAPC did not physically check the new boundary, the State Government could be exposed to damage claims from residents needlessly affected by the amendment.

‘In this case, if you look at the (Christ Church Grammar School and Methodist Ladies College) schools, it’s a voluntary line that may not correspond with the schools’ desire to develop their land, opening up more area for the reserve than the Government needs and potentially more land than should that could be claimed for compensation,’ Mr Caddy said.

A WAPC spokeswoman said the new boundary was inspected ‘wherever this could occur’ but the WAPC officers were unable to enter some private properties. She said there was no plan for a path and Claremont did not permit building on the cliff.