A structure plan to build more than 400 new houses and a new primary school in Piara Waters has been given the nod by the City of Armadale.
The West Piara Urban Precinct South at Lot 9009 Warton Road will guide further subdivision and development in the mostly cleared 31 hectares of land adjacent to Piara Waters Senior High School.
The Satterley Property Group’s precinct structure plan consists of plots ranging between R25 (minimum 300m2) and R60 (120m2). It is estimated the new development would increase the resident population in the area by around 1300 people.
There is also a provision for a primary school to accommodate growing student numbers in the area. And the plan highlights a space for a “district level” playing field.
There were four objections from neighbouring residents.
A number of concerns were raised about the increased stress on existing through-roads.
“As well as the increased traffic and after school hours parking, this area will become a danger for pedestrians and a nightmare for anyone living in the area,” one objector said.
Council officers took this concern on board, acknowledging that the plan’s estimation that student numbers would be in line with the state standard of 540 were wildly underestimated, and that “it is reasonable to assume that all primary schools will likely cater for student populations of approximately 1,000 students at some point in their operational lifespan”.
They recommended an updated Traffic Impact Assessment be provided as a condition of the city’s support for the plan.
However, they did note that the city is “progressing the upgrading of Mason Road” which includes additional turning lanes from Mason Rd onto Warton Rd.
“The city has previously advocated for the City of Cockburn to upgrade the Jandakot Road connection to the Warton Road roundabout, which is only constructed as a single lane entry and exit at this time,” officers said.
Most of the residents who objected were also worried about the effect on already threatened local populations of quendas and black cockatoos by clearing remnant vegetation.
“There are quenda in this area, as a P4 species their survival is dependent on conservation, the fact that the council is looking at further diminishing their habitat in the area is shameful. This area should be left as bushland, not manicured bushland but natural area,” one objector said.
In response, the city explained that “the majority” of the lot had already been cleared for sand quarrying and livestock grazing, “with non-endemic tree species planted for livestock shade”.
“Four separate vegetation patches on the site were identified as ‘Banksia Woodland’, totaling approximately 3.1 hectares of vegetation. This vegetation is in ‘Degraded’ to ‘Degraded to Good’ condition and as a result does not meet the minimum size and condition thresholds to be considered as a Threatened Ecological Community. It is also noted that there are no ‘Bush Forever’ designations applicable to the structure plan area,” officers said.
They also noted the developers had proposed retention of vegetation “within the conservation category wetland buffer”.
A further concern was raised about the proposed size of some of the lots, which could be as small as 120m2.
“R60 is way too small, the crime rate here is already above average and nothing is being done about it, cramming more people in doesn’t seem like a step in the right direction,” one objector said.
City officers agreed that R60 was not appropriate for the Piara Waters area.
“The city has consistently and previously advised that R60 density is more appropriately located in town centres … it is therefore recommended that the R60 density code is replaced with a maximum R40 density code which is more appropriate for the context of the structure plan area,” officers said, noting the WAPC ordered R60 lots be removed from Stocklands’ adjoining West Piara Urban Precinct South development for similar reasons.
Councillors voted unanimously to recommend the WAPC approve the structure plan after a number of modifications had been met.