16/04/2008 - 22:00

Subiaco stand-off over China Green

16/04/2008 - 22:00

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Tensions between the City of Subiaco and the Subiaco Redevelopment Authority (SRA) over the China Green site development have reached new heights, with the former threatening legal action if its request to settle differences with the SRA through mediation

Tensions between the City of Subiaco and the Subiaco Redevelopment Authority (SRA) over the China Green site development have reached new heights, with the former threatening legal action if its request to settle differences with the SRA through mediation is ignored.

The city says several aspects of the Subi Centro project, including its proposed height and scale, violate the conditions under which it sold a parcel of land to the SRA for the development.

While the city would not disclose details of the contract, the conditions relate to building height, sustainable design and the formation of a joint working party.

In order to address its concerns, the city has written to the SRA and Planning Minister Alannah MacTiernan calling for a mediation of the dispute.

Its development committee has also recommended that council request the SRA cease earthworks on the 4-hectare site until planning and subdivision approvals are received.

City of Subiaco chief executive officer Chester Burton said the contract with the SRA provided for mediation between the parties, or a formal dispute resolution process if necessary.

“In our view, the failure of the SRA to comply with the conditions of the sale has caused us to initiate the mediation provisions of the contract,” he said.

“We would obviously be seeking to resolve this by mediation, but if this is not the case, then I would expect to move to what would essentially be arbitration.”

However, Mr Burton said he did not expect the stand-off to reach a point where the city would seek to recover its land parcel.

“We’d hope the strength of our argument and the significant community concern would prevail,” he said.

Mr Burton said the city had a number of concerns with the China Green project, particularly its height and density.

The current plans allow for height limits of five to six storeys, with about 250 to 330 dwellings to be built, as well as a 10-storey building.

“There has already been a significant increase in density across the SRA area. (The China Green development) would in fact take it to levels three to four times higher than originally intended,” Mr Burton said.

“The argument that it is appropriate on a transit-oriented development basis is simply difficult to understand or accept, given the area is 500 to 600 metres from the train station.”

The office component of 55,000 square metres was also too large for the development, he said.

“It seems it is more a response to the current shortage of office space in the wider metropolitan area than long-term planning,” Mr Burton said.

A statement from the SRA said there were differences of opinion on the China Green plan, and the SRA would continue to work with the city.

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