Proposal heads back to JDAP amidst news heritage assessment underway

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One of the more than a dozen visitors to the King Neptune statue in a 20-minute period on Wednesday morning. Picture: Anita McInnes

THE Heritage Council has started to assess whether the Sun City precinct Two Rocks, which contains King Neptune and the former Atlantis marine park site, warrants assessment for the state register of heritage places with the precinct being added to the work program on April 14.

According to the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage (DPLH) the Heritage Council made the decision to prioritise assessing the Sun City precinct on Friday, April 8.

What the Heritage Council’s decision that the Sun City precinct has been identified as warranting assessment for the state register of heritage places means when the proposal is considered once again by the JDAP in the next few weeks remains to be seen.

Although they are not the decision makers on whether the Woolworths proposal gets the go ahead most Wanneroo councillors have thrown their support behind residents campaigning to have the development located elsewhere such as on Breakwater Dr in the future Two Rocks city centre.

At the City of Wanneroo’s ordinary meeting on April 12 North ward councillor Chris Baker put forward a successful amendment, seconded by his fellow North ward councillor Sonet Coetzee, arguing the Woolworths’ development application was completely out of scale and sync with its surroundings, King Neptune, the Atlantis precinct, the future development of the marina and it would do nothing to enhance the development of the surrounding tourism and marina precinct in Two Rocks.

A map on the Heritage Council database inHerit defining the Sun City precinct, Two Rocks.

Deputy mayor Brett Treby also had a message for the JDAP, which is due to decide on the proposal on or before May 4.

Cr Treby referenced the World heritage-listed Fremantle Prison and said the view corridor from the prison’s front gates right the way down to the port was sacrosanct.

“You cannot even touch the trees because it’s that view corridor which holds the cultural significance and the heritage significance and I put it to JDAP that the view corridor from King Neptune is every bit as significant,’’ he said.

According to the Fremantle Prison conservation management plan 2010 one of state heritage values the prison possesses is aesthetic value.

“Fremantle Prison’s townscape presence is strongly felt in its walls and the public face on the Terrace; and, from the Terrace, sweeping views from the prison encompass the town, Round House, Rottnest Island and other places with which Fremantle Prison has strong historic links,” the management plan says.

Cr Treby said as it was clear there was angst in the community about the Woolworths proposal the JDAP should exercise the precautionary principle and not make a decision because they did not have the complete evidence, findings or facts.

Councillor Nat Sangalli said a lot had been made of the fact a supermarket had been written into the structure plan but what had been missed was the structure plan also encouraged heritage values and a coastal boutique development with an emphasis on tourism.

The view from in front of the King Neptune statue overlooking the part of the proposed Woolworths site. Picture: Anita McInnes

“I’m sure tourists are not travelling to Two Rocks to simply shop at Woolies,’’ she said.

“People are drawn to Two Rocks because of its uniqueness just as they do at Hillarys, which also funnily enough doesn’t have a Woolies.

“As far as the structure plan goes and the community consultation that went into it the main themes included retaining King Neptune, maintaining current aesthetics of the town and a building height no larger than two storeys, inclusion of additional shops, cafes, boutiques, medical facilities and other recreational facilities, a green buffer along Lisford Ave.

“Its retail strategy mentions the inclusion of a supermarket on a small main street as an anchor retail with additional tourism and recreational needs – surf wear, fishing, diving, even a tavern and a wine bar sympathetic to beachside and marina locations.’’

Prior to the April 12 council meeting Michael Bower from Blueport Development Management emailed councillors and the city on behalf of Fini Group.

In his email Mr Bower confirmed heritage intentions for the Two Rocks town centre including the proposed Woolworths site and said they should be considered by the council in its deliberations.

Mr Bower said there was a clear intent by landowner Fini Group to develop a respectful and well-considered heritage strategy throughout the entire town centre.

“The King Neptune statue is proposed to be retained and respected through allocation of an extensive 1ha public open space area,’’ he wrote.

The proposed 1ha public open space, containing the King Neptune statue, will be located between the proposed RAAFA development on one side and the proposed Woolworths development on the other.

“This has been confirmed through LDP No. 1 (approved by the council in 2018) and a replacement deed and bond payment between RAAFA and the City of Wanneroo.

“The Woolworths site is located on land which is appropriately zoned for retail and commercial uses – importantly, the site does not include the King Neptune statue.

“The pending assessment of the Sun City precinct by the Heritage Council of WA should not hold up consideration of any application within the town centre, including the Woolworths development.

“Consideration of the heritage value of the area, including preservation and integrity of the King Neptune statue, was the subject of a two-year community consultation process culminating in LDP No. 1 being approved by the council in 2018.

“Fini Group has engaged closely with Woolworths with respect to heritage matters on its site to ensure it aligned with Fini Group’s broader strategy and heritage advice.

“This includes reflection in built form design as well as integration with a broader heritage trail (involving use of numerous statues and interpretive signage).

“Woolworths will continue to develop this consultation with the city.’’