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Wednesday, 13 March 2013
Page: 2010

Mr WYATT (Hasluck) (09:33): I rise this morning to share with the House the work of a group of my constituents living in the suburb of Woodbridge in my electorate. Lois and Gerry Crowley recently found out, under Freedom of Information, that their local council had approved the development and subdivision of the site next to their house. What is unusual about this approval is the lot itself. The lot is on the old riverbed of the Helena River and is within a natural floodplain. The approval of a development on the lot would involve a substantial fill—approximately nine metres of fill in total—raising concerns about the impact on the lot itself and on neighbouring properties.

On the face of it, Gerry and Lois looked to have very valid concerns about the potential development of the lot next door to their house. Unsure of what to do, or who to speak to, about their concerns Gerry and Lois contacted me for advice. In Gerry's own words:

The area under question is unique in that it is a buffer of natural bush setting for a variety of birds and native animals within an increasingly populated area.

From our house we have viewed owls, Kingfishers, Kookaburras, cockatoos, galahs, finches, Magpies, Willy Wag Tails, Butcherbirds, Tawny Frogmouths, ducks, Honeyeaters and Black Faced Cuckoo-Shrike. Neighbours have described seeing possums, echidnas and bandicoots.

Gerry went on to say:

We understand that any construction on the site in front of us will require from 9 to 11 metres or fill and extensive retaining walls. Not only will this create an eyesore for us and devalue our property it will have a huge impact on the drainage from our site. We have the potential to have our very own wetland at the base of our house which may cause structural instability.

I recently met with Gerry in my office to outline his concerns and look at the typographical data on the property and in the surrounding area. It is clear from looking at this information that this is a situation that warrants further investigation before a decision about the future of the lot is made. Last week I met with Lois and Gerry to take a look at the site.

I want to congratulate the work of my local community in Woodbridge that has rallied to this concern. I know that the residents have held a community meeting that has been well attended by not only properties immediately bordering onto the proposed development site but also the wider neighbourhood. The group of residents has been very active and has made its views known. Their concerns are valid and, as a member of parliament, I have had the opportunity and privilege of working with them. I believe that together we can achieve an appropriate outcome and together we can build an even stronger local community.