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along the way is quite significant. You
might get a ‘yes’ from someone, then
someone else comes along and says ‘no,
you can’t do that’, it’s just frustrating.”
Councils have mixed opinions about
the mergers. Some are for and some
are against. But City of Bayswater is
embracing the change.
Bayswater Mayor Terry Kenyon says
the merger of Bassendean, which will
centre on Morley as its strategic heart and
include an additional area west of the City
of Bayswater to Alexander Drive and the
whole of Noranda, will see the creation of
a larger, more viable local government.
“We’ll be working to ensure that as part
of a larger city, the heritage, character
and uniqueness of all the communities
are protected and will continue to be
celebrated,” Kenyon says.
City of Fremantle chief executive officer
Graeme Mackenzie also supports local
government reform, but unlike Kenyon,
he’s in two minds. He’s concerned
merging with Melville, which has
Murdoch as its strategic centre, could
harm Fremantle investors.
“I’m not suggesting the current Melville
councillors would favour Murdoch but
there’s potential for that,” he says.
“Fremantle is already a strategic centre
that needs revitalisation. Murdoch is a
growing centre that has different needs.
I just fear that the mergers that go too
large and too far don’t provide optimum
outcomes. When you already have a
major activity centre with all the public
transport heading in its direction (in
Fremantle) you don’t need to weaken that.
You should be trying to strengthen it.”
Uncertainty may lead to project delays
and stalled developments, he adds.
“We’ve currently got a billion dollars
worth of development in Fremantle
that’s either just commenced, has DA
(development application) approval, is in
the system or is in the preliminary stage.
That’s momentum we’ve built. Through
this amalgamation, we’re frightened this
won’t continue, due to distraction and
uncertainty about Fremantle’s future.
“We don’t want to see that momentum
lost and we’re just a little bit fearful it
might. You have to take a leap of faith in
the new people that ultimately will form
council. When you have limited resources
(with merged councils), it’s difficult to
provide a clear focus and what tends to
happen is you end up doing half the job.”
Tindale isn’t keen on the council
mergers either. He says the City of
Subiaco has expressed a firm desire
to remain an independent local
“Subiaco has been developed with
a European building typology and it’s
important that future development is
respectful of our unique heritage.”
¿ RATES TO RISE
The issue of rate rises is now on the cards.
It would affect all property owners but the
level of increases depends on the area.
City of Stirling Mayor David Boothman
says council would be forced to hike fees,
as the cost to implement the mergers will
run into the millions of dollars.
“Under this proposal, the city will lose
20,000 ratepayers, producing an annual
rates shortfall of $10 million,” he says.
“Although there will be some reduction
in costs, these will occur over time,
meaning that rates will almost certainly
rise by 10 per cent or more in the first few
years, to cover the cost of the merger.”
The main problem is that the City
of Stirling’s rates are cheaper than
neighbouring blue-chip suburbs.
Peppermint Grove ratepayers pay 27 per
cent more, Cambridge 25 per cent more
and Mosman Park 23 per cent more.
“Rates for residents earmarked to move
into these new councils will increase.”
Deborah Levy invests and develops in
Scarborough but is the first to admit she’s
“not a lover of Stirling Council”.
The 51-year-old believes the council
mergers won’t really help the area, and if
anything, might make things worse.
“They charge more rates than any other
place in Perth but Scarborough looks like
a rubbish dump and the prices are so
expensive,” she says.
“We get promised laneways will be done
up, they’ll get lights. I’ve been living here
for eight to nine years and nothing has
Deborah recently completed a small
development in Scarborough, knocking
down a house and replacing it with two
huge townhouses on a triplex site.
She says there were ridiculous requests
made of her and everything seemed to
be much more complicated than it really
needed to be.
One of the main problems for small
developers is that Scarborough has a lot
of back laneways and most of them are in
“horrific condition”, according to Deborah.
She says council has just extended the
setback for laneways by another metre,
which now makes developing on duplex
sites very difficult.
“Properties take ages to get development
application approval,” she says. “It’s a
minefield. If your house is slightly different
and not the norm, you’re in trouble for
months and months.”
Some of the problems Deborah
experienced were time delays and forced
changes to the townhouses. She was told
to add balustrades to a staircase leading to
a garage and to lower a wall between the
two townhouses, which actually gave them
Deborah was also forced to raise her
balcony by half a metre because it
overlooked the neighbour’s yard.
“In the bathrooms, there are windows
everywhere with the exact same view but
that was okay. Tell me what the difference
is? They complicate things and do stuff
So if it’s so frustrating to develop in
Scarborough, why do it?
Deborah says the profits are huge and
most small developers usually make
between $250,000 and $450,000
per development. The real estate
agent estimates the profit in her own
development would have been about
$500,000, only she walked away halfway
through and was bought out by her now
ex-husband due to a divorce.
“Every time I get a property with
development potential, the response is so
overwhelming I don’t even put it on the net
sometimes, because I can’t cope,” she says.
“Every single person is now climbing on
City of Stirling will merge with parts of
City of Vincent. Deborah notes the City of
Vincent is also “pretty strict” and doesn’t
like anything out of its comfort zone.
“Each council might go against the other
and say ‘no we didn’t do it this way’ and
‘no it has to be this way’. Where is the
happy medium? It might start affecting
developers because where will conformity
be, with Vincent or with Stirling?
“They all stick to the same menu plan.
They’re all so straight-laced and can’t see
out of the box, so I don’t necessarily think it
Name: Deborah Levy
Strategy: Buy, develop
THE STATES // WA
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