Security fears for Swanbourne SAS village not addressed in plan

A NEW concept plan to redevelop the SAS’s Seaward Village in Swanbourne does not tackle security issues held by the Australian SAS Association.

“Apart from moving a child care centre to near the barracks, we have heard nothing about the security plan, and they haven’t produced any detail about any fence or barrier you would need to secure the new military housing area from civilians,” association president Terry Nolan said.

At a Defence Housing Australia (DHA) information session in Swanbourne last Sunday, there was no barrier in the plan to use about half the 22ha village for new civilian lots and dense military homes.

The plan, which goes to the WA Planning Commission about November, does have a new Jones Park access road on the village’s east, roads are reduced 2m to 18m wide and a road potentially cuts into revegetated Melon Hill.

Most State Government-controlled parks in the village would be demolished for new soldiers’ homes, firefighters’ access is provided between civilian and soldiers’ parts of the redevelopment, and civilian lots edge into Swanbourne Beach dunes.

“When I asked why DHA doesn’t use their own land and not go into A-Class reserves, they said clearly that they would not make as much money as they would not be able to put as many houses in,” Sayer Street resident Denise Murray said.

Mrs Murray said most of about 200 residents at the information session said the plan was an “appalling” way to treat the SAS.

They were also told DHA traffic estimates did not include cars using Sayer Street from the new Jones Park road.

Nedlands Mayor Max Hipkins said he now expected residents to “pressure” the council to close the A-Class Reserve part of Sayer Street but any closure may depend on Government intervention.

DHA property provisioning general manager John Dietz said a barrier’s fencing, materials and height would be determined during detailed designing to comply with any Department of Defence security requirement. Mr Dietz said the plan restricted Sayer Street traffic by making Seaward Avenue primarily for soldiers’ vehicles, including putting the new childcare centre at the east end of the avenue and designing a new Sayer Street intersection.