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Albany council divided by decision to refuse approval for ‘stunning’ Goode Beach holiday home based on risk

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Albany council divided by decision to refuse approval for ‘stunning’ Goode Beach holiday home based on risk

Albany councillors have refused a proposal to turn a Goode Beach property into a holiday home after a long debate at last week’s council meeting over ***** risk concerns.

In March, the city’s development and infrastructure services committee had accepted Dr Emily Fergie’s bushfire management plan and narrowly voted in favour of recommending councillors approve her change of use application (5-4).

This recommendation went against city officers’ advice that the proposal did not satisfy guidelines for vulnerable tourism land uses in bushfire prone areas.

During Tuesday’s debate, councillors said the Karakatta Road property was stunning and a fabulous offering for high-value tourists but it did not align with existing policies.

Councillors supported Cr Paul Terry’s alternate motion to refuse the application in line with the original recommendation 6-5.

Cr Terry said converting the property into short-term accommodation would intensify the use and “vulnerability” of the land and would “open up the city for significant litigation if a catastrophic event was to happen” if provisions were not applied “diligently”.

Cr Amanda Cruse said that while the property “showcases Albany beautifully”, it “doesn’t comply with relevant planning policies” and could not “in good conscience” support the proposal because it was her duty as a councillor to reduce risk.

Crs Malcolm Traill and Lynn MacLaren supported the motion, effectively reversing the result of the committee meeting, which they had been absent from.

Crs Robert Sutton, Mario Lionetti, Thomas Brough, Craig McKinley, and Delma Baesjou voted against refusing the application.

Cr Sutton said the proponent had been told to compile a bushfire plan so her proposal could be considered.

“They go away and get it done, but council officers still recommend against it,” he said.

“What does that say?

Cr Lionetti said everybody who lived at Goode Beach was at risk and Dr Fergie had received expert advice to bring her house up to standard.

“If you didn’t want her to have it, they should have said ‘no, nobody builds there, knock them all down and return it to bush’,” he said.

Cr McKinley said refusing the approval was “ridiculous” and asked what was the difference between staying at the property on a short holiday and leasing it for a longer *******.

“It’s bureaucrats . . . all we are is a nanny state,” he said.

After the alternate motion was backed to become the the substantive motion, Cr Brough said he was “personally sad” because “this red tape has just choked us”.

Cr Traill, who voted for the refusal based on it being in keeping with policy, said the council should be “proactive” and look at rules hindering entrepreneurship.

During public question time, Dr Fergie presented her case and said “we have now completely addressed the requirements for mitigating ***** risk”.

She was supported by presentations from planning solicitor Craig Wallace and Bio Diverse Solutions principal bushfire practitioner Kathryn Kinnear.

Dr Fergie and her team was expected to challenge the council decision through an appeal to the State Administrative Tribunal.

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News,Albany Advertiser,News,Great Southern,News,Regional WA
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