PCC fights on for land

INSTEAD of marching down St George’s Terrace to beard Premier Richard Court in his den over the resumption of land in East Perth, Perth City Councillors have instead met with him on their own turf.

Councillors were angered by the East Perth Redevelopment Author-ity’s resumption of land at Arden Street that the council had promised would be kept as public open space.

The land is in the midst of the EPRA area and its development is said to be crucial to the authority’s plans.

At council’s 14 March meeting, councillors said talking to Mr Court would be their best option to have the resumption overturned.

It seems most legal avenues will prove fruitless.

Prior to the PCC’s 28 March meeting, Mr Court met with councillors to hear their concerns regarding the East Perth Redevelopment Authorities resumption moves.

It is understood further meetings with the Ministers for Lands and Heritage are being scheduled.

Meanwhile, EPRA chairman Richard Lewis spoke to Business News to “set the facts straight”.

Mr Lewis said there would not have been an East Perth redevelopment if the authority had not resumed five properties, including Victoria Gardens and Haig Park, from the PCC.

“Those properties needed to be resumed for the EPRA scheme to work. Yet the PCC is carrying on about this Arden Street resumption,” he said.

“For the past two years EPRA has consulted with council. In fact, we were the ones who brought Arden Street to the council’s attention.

“The Town Planning Scheme for the EPRA area came down with that land zoned urban and the PCC made no comment on it then.”

Mr Lewis said the whole Arden Street action was being “gingered up” by residents who lived directly opposite the site in question.

Residents are likely to lose sweeping views of the Swan River if the site is developed.

“Their property values jumped by hundreds of per cents before this resumption,” Mr Lewis said.

He also hit out at complaints that developing the land would increase density within the EPRA area.

“EPRA has proved high density housing works. High density doesn’t mean low amenity,” Mr Lewis said.

“It’s not for everyone but residents have voted with their feet.”

Mr Lewis said PCC concerns that the EPRA was ‘empire building’ were nonsense.

“The EPRA does not have the power to extend its boundaries,” he said.

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