Fight to save properties

Fight to save properties

Freedom of Information
Melissa Zappelli with Member for Jandakot Yaz Mubarakai MLA. Photograph – Richard Polden.

A group of Harrisdale residents are continuing the battle to save their properties, after concerning details were uncovered through a Freedom of Information request last week.

Melissa Zappelli has taken on the fight to save her parent’s property after an environmental evaluation, conducted at the behest of Yolk Property Group, found wetlands at the location.

Yolk Property Group has designs on the land that lies between Ranford, Balannup, Skeet and Reilly roads in Harrisdale.

The classification as wetlands means it falls under environmental protections, setting off fears that the land may be seized by the State Government without compensation.

Ms Zappelli is hoping the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) will reconsider the wetlands classification, and last week obtained a 792-page document from the department through a Freedom of Information request.

In an email exchange between Ms Zappelli and the DBCA, Ms Zappelli highlighted her concerns over what she says she discovered in the document.

“It appears that Yolk through their planning consultants had designated 100 per cent of Lot 605 as public open space along with a large portion of Lot 606 by December 2020,” Ms Zappelli wrote.

“I find it interesting that the subsequent scientific investigation and the discovery of the ‘new’ wetlands that we dispute appear to align very closely with the developer’s initial plan.”

Ms Zappelli has sought the expertise of Bioscience’s Dr Peter Keating, described as “the State’s leading consultant across the environmental, horticulture and agriculture space,” to conduct his own environmental survey of the land, which was forwarded to DBCA on September 26.

According to Ms Zappelli, Dr Keating’s Wetland Assessment Report “categorically states there are no areas of wetland on Lots 604 or 605 Balannup Rd.”

In emails to Ms Zappelli, DBCA advised it has started a review of the information provided, and is seeking further information.

Later this year it is expected the City of Armadale will consider a structure plan for the development, and property owners are hoping the properties in question will ultimately be omitted from any approved development plans.

On Tuesday, Member for Jandakot Yaz Mubaraki MLA visited the Balannup Road site, where he met with property owners.