The University of Western Australia is to recommence the approval process for a housing development on part of its endowment land at the corner of Selby Street and Underwood Avenue, Shenton Park.
UWA Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alan Robson said the University needed to unlock the capital value of this asset if it was to meet its mission of achieving international excellence for the benefit the community and the State.
Plans for the proposed subdivision have been in abeyance for more than two years since the then Minister for Environment denied a subdivision application. Since then, the conservation and development plan has been enhanced to resolve issues raised previously during a consultation process with the community and government dating back to 1999.
The previous development concept had been supported by the WA Planning Commission, the Department of Planning and Infrastructure, the Department of Environment, the Environmental Protection Authority and the Water Corporation. The proposal had not been considered officially by the City of Nedlands.
UWA officers informally briefed City of Nedlands Mayor, Councillors and Council officers last night. It followed an earlier briefing with Elders from the Indigenous community.
UWA Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alan Robson, said the revitalised plan accommodated, to the extent possible, issues raised in prior discussions and consultation.
"It provides the best possible development plan for the area, while protecting its environmental values," he said.
"The new configuration preserves a bigger proportion of the high quality Bush Forever section of the land including higher quality vegetation and greater bio-diversity. The bushland areas are linked by public open space. Together, conservation areas and public open space have been increased to total 12 hectares in line with EPA and ministerial recommendations.
"The University will support an appropriate rehabilitation, protection and maintenance plan. The bush is likely to be used for university research and related activities. Public access to the conservation areas will be possible, but controlled to assist conservation," he said.
The development plan takes into account matters raised in earlier consultation with stakeholders - community and government - in terms of area, quality and bio-diversity. Issues addressed include: bushland linkages; improved ecological linkages; greater bio-diversity protection; bigger total conservation area; Aboriginal heritage; conservation of more high-quality bush. The land is not pristine bushland and has been used in recent times for agricultural and other research by the University. Some of the high quality bushland includes regrowth and exotic plants. Uncontrolled public access over the years resulted in deterioration prior to fencing by UWA in the 1980s.
The Water Corporation has given written support to the enhanced development concept, which is outside the revised odour zone.