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Port Coogee flareup

Shades of former rage as 105 objectors slam plans to add 147 more dwellings.

CHRIS THOMSON

Shades of the rage that engulfed Australand’s Port Coogee development a decade ago and saw the mayor that pushed the project hauled before the Corruption and Crime Commission have flared up with 105 people and a 70-signature petition objecting to higher apartment blocks and 147 extra dwellings being built there.

Frasers Property has asked Cockburn council to approve a four-metre increase in building heights, from 13.3-metres to 17.3-metres on the square-shaped ‘The Island’ component of the massive marina project at North Coogee.

Also on ‘The Island’, Frasers wants permission to erect about 160 apartments rather than the approximately 120 units it is currently permitted to.

In another area of land bounded by Medina Parade and Scout Turn, Frasers seeks permission to build about 137 apartments rather than the 58 dwellings it is presently permitted to.

In a third area of Port Coogee, Frasers wants to build about 28 more dwellings than it is currently allowed.

That’s about 147 more dwellings than the current plan for Port Coogee allows, and 105 objectors and 70 petitioners are not happy.

One Port Coogee resident, Chris Piotrowski, says the higher density would “decrease the space for the residents to enjoy the beachside living”.

“We need more parks so the kids can play and develop and be kids, not surrounded by the apartments and cars driving up and down the streets,” writes Mr Piotrowski whose property is high on the hill beside Cockburn Road in an area where views would likely be blocked if buildings were to rise to 17.3 metres.

Another Port Coogee property owner, Chris Harris, tells the council he bought his land with an eye on the original structure plan “under the apprehension that my block will have ocean glimpses”.

“With the new proposed structure plan depleting my chances for obtaining these views, I feel that revision to the structure plan is unjust …,” Mr Harris writes.

Roy and Patricia Flintoff, also of Port Coogee, consider the planned project at The Island would overshadow the children’s beach (pictured), a concern raised by a total of 19 objectors.

In response to the objections, Frasers says parks are being provided in accordance with the original structure plan.

For her part, senior Cockburn council planner Donna DiRenzo has recommended that maximum building heights be upped by 30 centimetres only – to 13.6 metres – on the north and eastern sides of ‘The Island’.

The northern and eastern edges of ‘The Island’ are closest to the children’s beach. Ms DiRenzo reasons that having 17.3-metre buildings along the southern and western edges only will ensure “an appropriate interface” with nearby projects, and  “protect visual amenity of the town beach by minimising building bulk, and overshadowing”.

In the mid-2000s, heated rallies occurred at Coogee Beach and outside the council’s Spearwood HQ to protest Australand’s Port Coogee project. Involvement of disgraced former State Premier Brian Burke in the project’s approval process was the touchstone issue that saw former Cockburn Mayor Stephen Lee ousted from office in 2009.

In 2008, the Corruption and Crime Commission considered Mr Lee had failed to disclose up to $40,000 in election donations from Australand. Mr Lee’s council gave Australand approval to develop Port Coogee after the developer had engaged Mr Burke, an associate of Mr Lee, to advise on financial and political aspects of the mayor’s 2005 re-election campaign.

A subsequent report from then Parliamentary Inspector Malcolm McCusker rejected the CCC’s findings. Mr Lee maintained he had done nothing wrong.

Mr Lee’s immediate successor Logan Howlett, who at the time lobbied hard against Port Coogee’s approval, is now a three-term mayor and the most senior of 10 elected officials set to vote on the latest plans tomorrow (Thursday) night.

Ultimately, Fraser’s wish to amend the Port Coogee structure plan is not up to Mr Howlett’s council. Any recommendation the council makes on Thursday night will be considered by the Western Australian Planning Commission which will make the final decision.

One Response to “Port Coogee flareup”

  1. Diggo says:

    heights and densities were not locked in/set in concrete . Hence the application to change.

    Who is to blame.

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