02/07/2009 - 00:00

New UWA Shenton Park hurdle

02/07/2009 - 00:00

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THE University of Western Australia has vowed to press ahead with its contentious development of bushland at Shenton Park, despite suffering another setback last week.

NIGHTMARE: The State Administrative Tribunal says UWA has become caught in a ‘‘Kafkaesque nightmare’’ over its application to develop bushland at Shenton Park. Photo: Grant Currall

THE University of Western Australia has vowed to press ahead with its contentious development of bushland at Shenton Park, despite suffering another setback last week.

The State Administrative Tribunal highlighted deep-seated problems in the state's planning process when it ruled on UWA's contentious proposal.

According to the tribunal, the university had become bogged down in a quagmire of applications, appeals and reviews, which expended an extraordinary amount of public time, effort and funds.

The tribunal said UWA's attempt to develop land in Underwood Avenue had been conducted "amid myriad interruptions" caused by various environmental processes and had become a "nightmare".

UWA vice-chancellor Alan Robson said the process was frustrating as the university sought to develop the land in order to generate extra income to invest in its facilities and contribute towards staff remuneration.

"It's the second guessing, and getting it through one hurdle, and then another hurdle comes up, and this constant lack of timeliness in decision making," Professor Robson told WA Business News.

"We've got short timelines to get material in, and then people sit on it forever.

"There is really a lack of transparency and a lack of clarity in the process, and there are a very large number of approvals that you've got to get."

The tribunal ruled it had no jurisdiction to entertain the proceedings, nor power to grant approval to the development application, but acknowledged the university and its stakeholders had become caught in a "Kafkaesque nightmare".

"There's been a battle with the Water Corporation over odour pollution and then we've sorted that out, and we've got Carnaby's cockatoos which I'm confident we will sort out with the federal government," Professor Robson said.

"Then we've got the state government approval and then we've got Nedlands City Council, so it still has got a ways to go."

Professor Robson said despite the repeated setbacks, the university would seek to advance its proposal to develop the land.

UWA has been attempting to develop the land for the past decade.

"The process has been very protracted and very difficult for the university," Professor Robson said.

"We've still got to get approval from the state and federal governments, and when we have that approval we will then go back and seek to get approval from the Nedlands City Council to develop the site."

 

 

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