The pressures on Subiaco

Posted on June 25, 2012 by Western Suburbs Alliance [Updated December 2, 2012]

There are major planning and development issues in Subiaco. The WA planning policy, Directions 2031, sets an infill target of an extra 3,600 dwellings for an already densely populated area. Developers are also seeking to provide many more commercial buildings

The State Government agencies, such as the Development Assessment Panels (DAPs), State Administrative Tribunal (SAT), and Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority (MRA/SRA) are privileging developers who show no consideration for Subiaco’s character, culture and history. Developers are going directly to these government agencies in order to contravene Subiaco’s Town Planning Scheme 4. They publicly admit that they prefer to do this in order to get approval for developments that in many cases will ruin the quality of life for residents and certainly lower residential property values.  Continue reading

WSA Public Forum – 11 October 2012 – Report

First WSA Forum, War Memorial Hall, Cottesloe Civic Centre, October 11, 2012. 

Posted October 12, 2012 by Western Suburbs Alliance

Well over 200 people attended this important event and fielded questions at the Q&A session following the speakers’ presentations.

The speakers were: Ken Eastwood AM (Former national CPA president) – Profli-gate. Who’s paying for all these future projects?; Ron Norris (Mayor, Mosman Park) – The DAP system and its implications for local governments and communities; Julie Matheson (Councillor, Subiaco) – A DAP case study; Subiaco/Catherine Street; Max Hipkins (Mayor, Nedlands) – Recent changes in the state planning laws and powers of the Planning Minister, WA Planning Commission and Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority; Kevin Morgan (Mayor) – The Robson Report and amalgamation; John Hammond (former Mayor, Cottesloe) – Implications of loss of control at the local government and community level. A Q & A session followed, involving the above speakers plus Heather Henderson (Mayor, Subiaco) and Wayne Monks (Independent candidate for Churchlands).

Four Independent candidates announced their intentions to nominate for the following seats in the State Election of 9th March 2013:

Max Hipkins. Seat of Nedlands in opposition to Minister Bill Marmion;

Kevin Morgan. Seat of Cottesloe in opposition to Premier Barnett;

Wayne Monk. Seat of Churchlands;

Greg Ross. Seat of Kalamunda in opposition to Minister John Day.

At the end of the forum there was a unanimous show of hands in response to the following questions:

1. How many of you feel that the government’s centralisation of planning powers and disenfranchisement of local government is unacceptable, that the DAPS should be terminated, and the right of appeal restored and public open spaces should be preserved?

2. How many of you would support a statement of no confidence in the Planning Minister, John Day?

3. How many of you would say ‘No local government reorganisation without majority community support’?

The Australian of October 16, 2012 reported on this event (see

It said, “. . . the latest poll suggests some voters are beginning to turn away from Barnett. His push for council amalgamations and beachfront development has been unpopular in parts of the Liberal

heartland, and last Thursday the premier listened to criticism of his government and himself as he sat through a meeting of disgruntled residents from the suburbs he represents. He was not invited to speak and he was booed as he left.”

Catherine Street – A Case in Point

The State Government regulations to conduct ‘commercial-in-confidence’ meetings with developers without any presentation of alternatives or any public critique. These are essentially developers’ advertorial opportunities. There are no impact statements, no commentary on heritage, or historical context, nothing on infrastructure, and no statements on how local residents’ amenities will be debased.

The plan for 19-27 Catherine Street was, as stated at the DAP meeting of 8th March, 2012, presented as the developers’ personal superannuation retirement plan, and it was rushed through planning and avoided Council scrutiny. Despite vigorous opposition from all of the other residents who live on Catherine St as well as the surrounding areas (just imagine how they were stunned that their investment in their homes was ignored) the plans went straight to the DAP.

The local residents maintained that the report given to the DAP was flawed and contained inaccuracies. However, despite the DAP knowing that there was no proper process, no real scrutiny by the elected council, and the DAP having no powers of investigation, the build was approved.

Subiaco’s inheritance – Catherine Street

There is no appeal to a DAP finding. The only alternative the residents of Catherine St have against the fact that one person’s desires were upheld against all others affected is to investigate the possibility of a costly Supreme Court action. We can only echo that this is indeed a foreshadowing of the death of democracy.

The proposed development that will be directly across the road from this terrace.


The Pressures on Subiaco

There are many compelling issues in Subiaco. Foremost is the pressure created by State Government initiatives. These include the demand for Subiaco, an already densely populated area, to create 3,600 new residential opportunities.

At the same time, the State Government’s agencies, such as the Development Assessment Panels (DAPs), State Administrative Tribunal (SAT), and the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority (MRA/SRA) are privileging developers who are not considering Subiaco’s character, history, or the fact that we need residences, not office blocks, and especially not Tokyo or even West Perth style buildings.

Currently developers are resorting to going directly to these agencies in order to contravene Subiaco’s TPS 4. The developers have actually publically admitted that they prefer to go directly to the State Government agencies in order to get buildings that in many cases will ruin the quality of life for residents and certainly lower residential property values.

At the SOS – Save Our Subiaco website we have discussed the dismay over the proposed Catherine St build, the attempt to put only offices at Railway and Bagot Roads, and the proposed 16 storey development at the Pavilion Market site. Please see the SOS website for the related articles in The Post newspaper.

It is not as though the Subiaco Council and State Government are unaware of the wishes of the residents and ratepayers of Subiaco. An unprecedented number of us, almost 4,000, as part of a council promoted activity, Think 2030, came out and discussed in fine detail what we thought Subiaco was about and what we thought was important for us as a community. The agencies, DAPS, SAT, and the MRA have studiously ignored the at least 29,000 comments.