NIMBY needs to be shelved

It is with great interest and dismay that we have watched the evolution of the South Perth planning laws over the past few months.

As many of you are aware, the Council, after many years of public consultation, waived the height restrictions in 2013 which gave way to a number of high profile projects proceeding, including the Civic Heart precinct.

But now with lobbying efforts of local residents the Council is reneging on this agreement and are looking to scale back these developments by 15% which will reflect 1000 apartments and $240 million of potential investment.

Why? The pro-lobby group say it’s because current apartment owners don’t want to lose their views and while the anti-development group denies this claim – what is very accurate is that this is a true case of NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard).

The fact is – the development proposed for South Perth is long overdue and with the high take up rate, demonstrates that there is pent up demand for new living opportunities in this suburb.

But once again we are faced with the 1% who say nay and because no-one else is ranting and raving – this is the only voice that Council hears.

I remember when we worked on the Gidgegannup project, which was a highly contentious land development, that there was the same level of resistance which then influenced the City of Swan.

But after two years of consultation, when the matter went to Council for planning approval – we had uncovered the “silent majority” who were prepared to be vocal in their support and once the Councillors were aware of this sentiment, they approved the development.

The fact is, most Councillors socialise in the suburb which they represent and can quite often be hounded or socially ostracised if they endorse projects that their peers feel are not in keeping with their area.

And that is the issue. These Councillors focus on what is good for them and not necessarily their City/Town.

At the end of the day you want to encourage investment in your locale. This generates a higher level of population, greater economic activity and greater prosperity all round. Let’s face it South Perth really does need a rejuvenation.

But despite lobby groups efforts, what they effectively need to do is ensure that the positive voice outweighs the negative and this can only be done by engaging and motivating these residents to be vocal, despite the social repercussions.

I for one hope that the City of South Perth understands that their initial decision, while bold, was appropriate and will continue in the same vein. Perth is moving into a new era and if you are not on board you will undoubtedly miss out!

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