Heritage concerns lead to deferral of supermarket proposal

A development application for a Woolworths supermarket in Two Rocks aims to capitalise on its proximity to King Neptune but many residents want a proposal that is more reflective of the statue’s tourism and heritage value. Picture: Anita McInnes

AN application to build a Woolworths supermarket just south of King Neptune has been deferred by the Metro Outer Joint Development Assessment Panel so that clarification of heritage issues relating to the proposal can be sought from the Heritage Council.

City of Wanneroo councillor Frank Cvitan said he was not completely happy with how the heritage issues had been dealt with.

When Cr Cvitan moved a procedural motion to defer the $16 million development application, he said he also wanted to know why the state government department had not made a comment on a heritage site.

His fellow Wanneroo councillor Vinh Nguyen, who is also on the JDAP, seconded the motion and said it was an important site and they did not want to get it wrong.

The motion was also supported by deputy presiding member Sheryl Chaffer.

JDAP presiding member Ian Birch and another specialist member of the panel Jason Hick voted against the motion.

The development application, which is for a supermarket, liquor store, restaurant and office at Lot 9702 (No. 10) Enterprise Ave, is now due back before the JDAP by Wednesday, May 4.

Some Two Rocks residents gave deputations to the JDAP prior to the decision.

In his deputation Warren Schafer said the heritage assessment report that informed the structure plan underlying the development application was prepared in 2006 – more than 15 years ago.

“Since 2003, the King Neptune statue and various other aspects of the surrounding Sun City precinct (have) been on the list to be assessed for State Heritage status by the Heritage Council,’’ he said.

“The heritage assessment that accompanies this development proposal shows an even less regard for the heritage value of the King Neptune statue and surrounds.

“This is not an accurate reflection of the local community’s expectations.’’

Mr Schafer said more than 2200 signatures have been collected in opposition to the development application and one of the concerns outlined by each one of those signatories was the unique heritage value of the site and surrounding area and how the current development application detracted from that heritage value.

The City of Wanneroo received a total of 208 submissions on the development application of which 148 were objections with 41 in support and 19, which provided general comments.

One joint submission (identified as submission 160 within the schedule of submissions) included 1202 signatories objecting to the proposal – this submission included opposition to the proposal on heritage grounds.

On February 22 Butler MLA John Quigley presented another petition to Parliament, which contained 1103 signatures from people who said they were against the development proposal as it failed to adequately respond to the recognised tourism and historical value, which the development site and surrounding marina zone area held for Two Rocks and for the greater state of Western Australia in general.

Two Rocks residents who are against a Woolworths supermarket proposal just south of King Neptune met at Charnwood Park on Monday, March 7. Picture: Anita McInnes

Long-term resident Anne-Maria Colman told the JDAP most of the people who signed were locals but there were some young surfers visiting the area who signed as well.

In its report to the JDAP the City of Wanneroo said overall it was satisfied the proposal had considered the heritage value of the site and had developed a sensitive and responsive proposal in recognition of this.

During the online meeting today Greg Bowering from the City of Wanneroo’s planning department said the former marine park was demolished years ago and the cleared lot (the lot which is the subject of the development application) hadn’t been identified for protection.

Mr Bowering said the statue was not part of the development application.

Yesterday Yanchep News Online asked the Heritage Minister David Templeman if he was aware of the proposal and why it had taken so long for the heritage team to assess whether King Neptune warranted assessment given it was identified as warranting assessment for the register in 2003 as part of a smaller precinct.

Mr Templeman did not respond but this afternoon a Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage spokeswoman said the minister was aware of the proposal.

She said there were more than 600 places on the Heritage Council’s assessment program and that the Heritage Council determined places to schedule for assessment each year.

“The Heritage Act 2018 introduced a more streamlined process for assessment and registration for the State Register of Heritage Places, but it will take several years to work through the program,’’ she said.

Yanchep News Online also asked the minister if the heritage team at DPLH had enough funding and/or staff to keep up-to-date with the work it was required to do given King Neptune was identified as warranting assessment for the register in 2003 as part of a smaller precinct.

The DPLH spokeswoman said assessing precincts required more resources than individual places as they involved multiple built features, often on many land parcels with numerous owners.

“Only a small number can be done each year.’’

According to the city’s report to the JDAP, DPLH was unable to comment on the proposal as the sites including King Neptune were not state heritage listed.

Neither the minister or DPLH responded when Yanchep News Online asked whether that was an adequate response given the was statue identified as warranting assessment for the register in 2003 as part of a smaller precinct.