A multi-storey commercial centre has been approved after a four-hour meeting despite concerns from Dalkeith residents, including Kerry Stokes’ right-hand man Brian O’Donnell.
A multi-storey commercial centre has been approved after a four-hour meeting despite concerns from Dalkeith residents, including Kerry Stokes’ right-hand man Brian O'Donnell.
Australian Property Collective proposed to build a three-storey community health and wellness centre on a 43,489 square metre lot on 129-133 Waratah Avenue, estimated to cost $42.37 million.
The Metro Inner-North Joint Development Assessment Panel today approved APC’s application after a meeting that ran for more than four hours.
Mr O'Donnell, a director of Mr Stokes’ company Australian Capital Equity since 1996, presented against the proposed medical centre at the meeting.
“This is a perfect site for a combined commercial and residential development and approving it would be a lost opportunity for higher density housing in Dalkeith,” he said.
“This is a very large, purely commercial project … it’s not pedestrian friendly.
“Residents like myself are not against redevelopment of the site, it’s a site with old buildings that need to be redeveloped.
“But the development doesn’t belong in local centre locality that is surrounded by residential homes.”
Other Dalkeith residents have attended the JDAP meeting to oppose the development, including Canaccord Genuity executive director Aaron Constantine, DR Capital chief executive Ben Bartholomaeus, and Canaccord Genuity director Gavin Wates.
The presenters commented on the potential high volume of traffic, and the bulk and scale of the commercial development compared to the residential surroundings.
The proposed commercial centre in Dalkeith, including a medical facility. Image: Pennock Architects via JDAP
Panel members voted 3-2 to approve the application, with the two Nedlands councillors on the JDAP objecting to the proposal.
JDAP deputy presiding member Lee O’Donohue said all the amenities issues over bulk, scale or architecture form had been addressed.
“Had this been for a medical centre only, I think I would have a different decision but the ground floor had different uses… it would provide a community benefit in the local area,” she said.
The proposed development also includes a café or restaurant on the ground floor, a shop, a small liquor store, and an office.
“I would argue that this development presents as two storeys, not three, because of how far setback that third floor is,” Element planning associate Callum Thatcher said.
“The identity of family GP is being placed with ill thought, as ground floor tenancies which is heavily restricted.
“They often sit vacant and cannot retain long-term leases.”
The existing buildings were of considerable age and nearing the end of their economic life, according to the development application.
The JDAP's approval included a condition to limit the opening hours for the medical centre to open from 7am to 9pm, from Monday to Saturday excluding public holidays.
The medical centre was initially proposed to operate from 8am to 9pm everyday, with the GP clinic to include an after-hours first contact service and a 24/7 telemedicine and telehealth services.
"Should a patient require in-person treatment, medical services can be provided on-site," the application said.
"It is important to note, this is not an emergency department however, is a service which in particular the elderly will benefit from to be seen and treated without having to wait in emergency departments for an extended period of time for a medical emergency that is non-life threatening or requires an initial screening assessment."
The development application said the proposed centre would address the lack of medical services within western suburbs.
However, Nedlands mayor Fiona Argyle said young people in the city made up a bigger portion of its population than seniors.
“The intent of this development is to provide an enormous medical centre with multiple specialist offering in a one stop shop format for our much-needed ageing local residents,” she said at the meeting.
“[But] City of Nedlands has a median age of 43, according to 2021 ABS census. This is five years below the WA average.
“This [centre] is completely out of context with surrounding area.
“I don’t say this lightly, but I want you to know that in all measures, a fully commercial building on this site is an epic fail.
“This would be a great design on Cambridge Street but not on Waratah Avenue in a high residential area.”
Despite Ms Argyle's comments, the Australian Bureau of Statistics listed 38 as the median age in WA in its 2021 data.