Church infrastructure hot debate

Church infrastructure hot debate

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Orange Grove residents are concerned their rural lifestyle will be threatened if an approval for a place of worship is approved.

Many Orange Grove residents braved the cold and rain to attend the City of Gosnells council meeting on Tuesday.

On August 8 residents put forward a petition to rezone Orange Grove from rural to special rural, and if the WA Planning Commission agreed to it, it would mean places of worship would not be permitted in the area.

The petition follows a recent announcement that saw the State Government Planning Department approve the building of a Catholic church in Kelvin Road.

Following the petition raised during public statement time councillor Glenn Dewhurst put forward a motion for council to initiate an amendment to the town planning scheme to rezone Orange Grove from rural to special rural.

His proposal was hotly debated as he urged councillors to vote for the motion.

Some councillors thought it was best to wait for the town planning scheme to be completed and submitted to the Planning Commission before submitting another application to rezone Orange Grove in order to avoid confusion.

The motion was not carried with six councillors voting against it and four voting for.

Councillor David Goode who voted against the motion said he wanted to keep an open mind on the issue.

“We are in favour of the residents,” he said.

“However we need to get this right,” he said.

Councillor Dave Griffiths said while there was no doubt the council supported the residents he thought it would be best to wait for the town planning scheme to be completed.

Mayor Olwen Searle said she appreciated the sentiment and passion of Mr Dewhurst but if the motion was passed it would muddy the waters.

She also said Orange Grove residents did not buy a house but a lifestyle.

Many residents were worried the church would disrupt their rural lifestyle and bring in a lot of noise and traffic.

One resident has alleged the church was being built a block away from forever bushland and fears it would threaten the environment.

Maddington resident Ashley Butler said the church would add to the rural lifestyle.

“Orange Grove is a hub of activity,” he said.

“There is a shooting range in Orange Grove, people are always going there, there’s actually a ton of activity in the area and a church isn’t going to disrupt that.”