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  • Save Perth Hills Inc

Save Perth Hills Media Release 14th May

The highly contentious proposed North Stoneville urban development, in the heart of Perth’s Hills, has been delivered another death blow with the Mundaring Shire Council taking steps to return the land to a Rural zoning.

Community action group, Save Perth Hills, has been fighting against the suburban development, on 555 hectares of Anglican Church land, for more than 20 years. The latest plan would see than 4000 people in 1,450 houses inside an Extreme Fire Zone. The group describes the re-zoning vote as a strong signal to the State Government that urbanisation of Perth’s Hills is unwanted, inappropriate, and dangerous.

“Our Council has taken the logical next step to instigate re-zoning of the infamous North Stoneville site”, Save Perth Hills’ Chair, Paige McNeil, said. “This opens the way for our Shire and our community to embark on economic growth opportunities which respect Perth’s Hills’ natural environment, rather than template urbanisation and wholesale environmental destruction.”

The decision aligns with the Shire’s declared Climate Emergency (December 2019) and with adoption of the Shire’s Strategic Community Plan 2020-2030 (March 2020) which the community placed environmental protection as the top priority.

The Council has allocated funds to prioritise a Scheme Amendment which, if approved by the WA Planning Commission, would change the Metropolitan Planning Scheme (MRS) to accommodate re-zoning back to Rural.

“This action is consistent with, and supports, the unanimous Shire Council vote, in front of a record 1200 residents and ratepayers in August 2019, to refuse Satterley’s North Stoneville Structure Plan 34. This latest vote, on May 12, to commence the process to re-zone the land back to Rural, is the Shire applying prudent long-term decision making to protect itself, the Shire’s ratepayers, and the State’s taxpayers against the multi-million dollar liability that this urbanisation would bring,” Paige said.

Councillor Doug Jeans, who presented the Motion, said he hoped it would kick start momentum in the WA Planning Commission for change.

“This type of change has to start somewhere – and somewhere is now. I hope this (Motion) is the start of that change to hopefully make a difference over the next 20 to 50 years for communities in the Hills,” Cr. Jeans told Council.

Referring to South Australia’s long-established special planning zoning to protect the Adelaide Hills, Cr. Jeans said his Motion was more than just about North Stoneville’s contentious Structure Plan.

“It’s about the bigger picture across the whole of Perth’s Hills and illustrated why the Hills are totally different to ‘the Perth-Peel Region’ - Perth’s ‘urban’ areas.”

The Mundaring Shire and the local community consider Urban Zoning at North Stoneville dangerous, destructive, and inappropriate. The plan doesn’t comply with the State Government’s own planning policies, on infill, transport and significantly, planning in bushfire zone areas (State Planning Policy 3.7), with North Stoneville surrounded by a permanent – and proven, Extreme Fire Zone in a region bordered by John Forrest National Park.

State Planning Policy states:

Avoid any increase in the threat of bushfire to people, property and infrastructure. The preservation of life and the management of bushfire impact are paramount.

The application to amend the MRS would therefore achieve consistency with State Planning Policy, as outlined by Planning Minister Rita Saffioti, that requires infill developments to be close to Perth’s CBD, and near public transport hubs and essential services. The proposed North Stoneville development fails on every point.

Ultimately the final re-zoning decision will be made by the WA Planning Commission and the Planning Minister.

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