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PCC existence threatened

PERTH City Council may soon be fighting for its life.

Its recent loss to the East Perth Redevelopment Authority over land at Arden Street is raising questions about its real power.

The land had belonged to the PCC since the 1950s. Though zoned for urban use, it had been earmarked for public open space – something residents in the new East Perth were pleased about.

However, the EPRA summarily resumed the land with the backing of Planning Minister Graham Kierath.

This is not the only setback the PCC has suffered in recent times.

Transport WA has been given control of certain parking in the PCC jurisdiction and Main Roads WA has taken more control of roads in the CBD.

The Ministry of Planning set up the Central Perth Planning Committee over the top of the PCC and the eastern gateway to the city is now in the hands of the EPRA – a body many say does not answer to anybody.

The battle with the EPRA over Arden Street has made councillors even more nervous.

They fear their hopes for the eastern gateway may be brushed aside.

A spokesman for Local Govern-ment Minister Paul Omodei said he was not aware of any plans to get rid of the PCC.

However, there has been no confirmation from Mr Omodei that the PCC is ‘safe’.

“We went to a lot of trouble to redesign the whole city,” the spokesman said.

A State Labor Government also offers no security for the PCC.

State Opposition Leader and former Fremantle City Councillor Geoff Gallop said Labor had gone into the last election with a plan to do away with the PCC.

He told Business News such a plan was not on Labor’s agenda for this election.

However, Dr Gallop did not rule out the possibility.

Councillor Laurance Goodman said he was seriously asking himself whether it was worth being on the PCC. He said other non-elected people seemed to wield far more influence over the city than the elected councillors.

Mr Goodman said the increasing power being taken on by government and pseudo-government departments was making life for the PCC difficult.

In 1998, the Property Council of Australia’s WA branch branded Perth a rudderless city.

It was behind the push for the Central Perth Planning Committee and its former president Gerald Major has been given a place on the committee.

The existence of this committee and the inroads made by government agencies beg the question – is the PCC still relevant?

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