People won out over plants at Tuesday night’s City of Gosnells council meeting, with the approval for an amendment to a local structure plan (LSP), despite an objection from the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA).
The proposed amendment to Southern River Precinct 3C LSP would modify the extent of a wetland buffer between a housing development on Matison Street and an adjacent Conservation category wetland within a Bush Forever site.
The buffer modification from 50 metres to 30 metres would allow developers to increase the number of lots from an approved 112 to 132.
While city officers recommended the reduction in the buffer zone be approved, mainly due to what they described as the degraded nature of the 20-metre area, a submission from DBCA was quite clear on the matter.
“The Environmental Protection Authority…recommends that ‘all Conservation category wetlands and appropriate buffers are fully protected’ and that ‘wetlands that are to be protected require a minimum 50 metre buffer distance,’” the submission read.
The DBCA submission swayed the minds of four councillors – Peter Abetz, Sarah Patterson and Kevin McDonald all supportive of retaining the buffer zone.
Mr Abetz acknowledged that while the reduction would increase the value of the development by four to five million dollars and add rate revenue into the city’s coffers, he could not support the reduction.
MS Patterson said she was normally a supporter of “people over plants” but in this case she believed the plants should win out
Deputy Mayor Adam Horz also objected, citing the amenity concerns of nearby neighbour Kerry Jurian, who built her property to respect the buffer zone.
Despite the objections the amendment was passed 8-4.
It will now be put forward to the Western Australian Planning Commission, who will ultimately have the final say.