Prison decision on hold

BASSENDEAN Town Council is confident that moves to block the controversial women’s Pyrton Prison proposed for Eden Hill will be successful.

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill is considering an appeal regarding the Aboriginal significance of the site.

Mr Hill was due to give his decision last Friday but has not yet made a final determination.

Opponents claim the prison would desecrate the Aboriginal sacred site.

The WA Government has given Mr Hill an undertaking that it will not conduct any construction works until after his decision.

Bassendean Mayor Bevan Carter said as far as council was concerned the prison was a dead issue.

“We are now pursuing discussions with the Disability Services Commission to see if they will agree to vest the land in the council,” Mr Carter said.

“There are a number of community palatable uses to which the land could be put.”

The land earmarked for the prison, which overlooks the Swan River, is valued at $7 million.

It is zoned for a hospital and cannot be turned over to residential or commercial development without amendments to the Metropolitan Regions Scheme.

There are about a dozen buildings on the site that were built in the 1960s.

Mr Carter believes the buildings could be put to a number of community uses.

“For example, there is the potential to create performance spaces there,” he said.

A BTC spokesman said council had opposed the prison plan from the beginning.

“The majority of people here don’t want it,” the spokesman said.

There are fears that the presence of a prison would threaten the viability of Bassendean’s real estate market.

In the past quarter, Bassendean house values rose 2.5 per cent and, during the past 12 months, values have risen 8.9 per cent. In Eden Hill, house prices rose 2.2 per cent in the previous quarter and 2.3 per cent for the year.

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