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Directions 2031 a positive first step
"The State Government has worked hard to deliver a future vision in Directions 2031 as a new blueprint for our city.
However, early analysis reveals it is missing some of the most important features to deliver a sustainable city," said Greens Planning spokesperson Lynn MacLaren MLC.
“Shaping our city depends on an effective, integrated transport plan – one that includes a light rail network. Transport links to the planned Kwinana ports, including a heavy rail freight strategy, are also critical components which are missing from the blueprint.
"Without a transport plan it will be hard for local councils to decide where densities can increase. Density targets are long overdue and are already being attacked by local councils.
"While councils will get a chance to comment, it is significant that State Government has set the bar," added Ms MacLaren.
Perth is already the most sprawling suburb in the world. The most recent State of the Environment report identified that Perth loses two football fields of wetlands every day to urban sprawl. The time to take action to preserve the urban bush we have left is well overdue.
Other cities such as Melbourne, Portland (USA) and even Freiburg (Germany) have successfully introduced strong planning guidelines including urban growth boundaries to responsibly guide development.
“While Gary Pratley, Chairman of the WAPC, was almost evangelical about his opposition to an urban growth boundary at the launch of the blueprint, Eric Lumsden, Director General of the Department of Planning, admitted there could be merit in exclusion zones. Local councils may wish to comment on that in their submissions when trying to protect productive land or bushland assets," said Ms MacLaren.
“Mr Pratley’s views are antiquated and belong in the shed alongside the IBM typewriter and 8-track tapes. Today’s urban designer seeks to preserve our remaining open spaces and agricultural land from the encroaching urban footprint. It is the only way to deliver a liveable city.
“In Perth, with native habitat disappearing on an alarming scale for a biodiversity hotspot, it is incumbent upon city planners to identify no-go zones for development. Otherwise, we will pave over the uniqueness that is Perth. If exclusion zoning can deliver this, then let’s have it!” Ms MacLaren said.
“A Green plan for metropolitan Perth would include a urban sprawl constraints and development quarantines on agricultural quality land close to the city.
More housing, higher density options
Targets for affordable housing are critical to ensure an adequate supply for future generations. If you think it’s hard to find an affordable house now, wait until 2031 when the population has grown!
Destruction continues as usual
Eric Lumsden was strong in his assertion that development would not proceed as “business as usual.”
The Government remains committed to road freight rather than increasing rail use; and it continues in its relentless assault on internationally significant wetlands (often dismissed as “degraded land’).
As long as the Government is committed to build Roe 8 through the Beeliar wetlands Colin Barnett fails the test of sustainable planning.