Often the truth is missed in a good story. This is clearly the case with the media portrayal of the Cottesloe Foreshore Plans and issues surrounding the new proposed planning scheme and the rules guiding future development along Marine Parade. As a follow up to the recent public meeting at the Civic Centre Hall, regarding the beachfront, the Cottesloe foreshore plans and the ensuing media frenzy, I have decided once and for all put my opinion clearly for the public record where I stand on this issue.
As explained many times to the Town of Cottesloe, my employer on this issue, I am not here to have my opinion ‘bought’ to serve official opinions with which I do not necessarily agree. In being commissioned for the work for the Town of Cottesloe I have made my position very clear that my opinion is a professional one and but it cannot be twisted to suit any dogmatic standpoint in this important argument about future development along the foreshore and commercial strip along the beachfront.
2004 Solar Study Cottesloe Foreshore Plans
My presentations made since 2004 have really been consistent. The problem is that some of my principles have been respected when it has suited the political stance of many in the Council – others conveniently ignored and in some cases, simply corrupted. The same could be said of the pro-development government personnel who attended the Enquiry by Design, and who are in my opinion, if anything, more political and fundamentalist about developmental action.
When it came to planning strategies at the Enquiry by Design (‘EbD’) consultation process some 5 years later, Councillors and officers alike ignored reason, in regard to a review of the development zone and the principles for protecting a future beach alignment. Then to make matters worse, the State Government ignored their own advice regarding ocean level rises in submitting their own version of 3D envelopes for beachfront development.
At the public meeting on the 16thMarch, 2011, along with private discussions with the Council I pointed out as clearly as I could that the ‘elephant in the room’ is ocean rises due to Climate Change. But it is a rather like the ‘Inconvenient Truth’ : people listen, are stunned, yet do not even try to join up the dots to deduce what this means for any town planning scheme. Even at the EbD this key issue was virtually ignored in the final design concepts and most importantly, not addressed in the draft scheme LPS3, when it clearly is the single most important influence on our coastline development and beach amenity for the rest of this century and beyond.
Apart from ocean rises there are going to be even more serious threats to the beachfront, our culture and the business world that must be seen in the context of opening the doors to big developers to take over the beach front built environment. After 2035 the global population is now predicted to diminish dramatically till the end of the century. There only 25 years left of ‘boom’ times for this planet as energy sources are greatly degraded and changing life as we currently know it dramatically.
Proper Decision Making Process
Why is it not being dealt with? Why is all the argument concentrated on height and view of the beach, when the current location of the commercial zone will be overlooking sea walls by the end of the century? It make one wonder how fervent minds can be deluded by their own locked-in fears and perceived solutions. For what duration are we planning and designing the future commercial zone and foreshore?
What has not been clearly published in the papers is that I am not actually ‘anti-development’ at all. My firm Ecotect-Architects, worked hard as a paid consultant at the Enquiry by Design (EbD) to ensure that maximum development could be achieved, while at the same time serving the public interest for now and well into the future.
The Enquiry by Design Process
The process was well conducted by Andrew Jackson of the Town of Cottesloe to be able to influence a change in direction for Cottesloe within the proposed LPS3. What the people of Cottesloe and the wider general public need to understand is that the EbD was a guideline to framing the LPS3 as a draft.
I believe a lot more work by independent consultants, acting under the Authorities’ inputs and guidance, could have delivered the best planning rules and guidelines for developers, before it became law. At the same time it would have served the community interest. It appears that misguided advice by some public servants convinced the government that they could do better to serve the ‘big development’ lobby.
As we now know their efforts have produced results which are primitive, unprofessional and offending to most of the community. They do not incorporate sustainability in any way.
This EbD delivered community consultation as well as representation by the key landowners/developers of the two main sites in question: the Ocean Beach Hotel and the Cottesloe Beach Hotel. Unfortunately it seems that the powerful developer lobby has convinced the politicians that somehow the EbD was “orchestrated by community groups with a twisted view of what is good for the community”. Many community groups with varying opinions and the land owners along with their commissioned consultants, were given ample time to present their viewpoints during the process.
For those who did not contribute or attend the Enquiry by Design, my presentation is downloadable from here, to show clearly what all the government people, consultants, councillors and general public as well as community interest groups offered to the process. For those who did attend, perhaps you may like to refresh your memory
Where from here now?
Future For Cottesloe Foreshore Plans and the Beachfront
I believe that we need a credible sponsor for a select group of consultants, managed by Ecotect-Architects, to devise a developed concept and acceptable plan, from which proper 3D envelopes will establish what can actually work and serve the public interest and local residents. It needs a tick of approval by all parties. Some compromise may be needed. For sure the scheme is not even close to having served due process or any chance whatsoever of gaining public support.
This needs to be sponsored by an appropriate independent party to design a stage-by-stage solution that will serve as a guide to finalizing the LPS3 and future amendments as well as provide the solid principles for any future scheme in the future so the beach facility will be available to our children and grandchildren and their offspring.
What say you?
I know I am prepared to put some spadework in to make sure this happens.
Refer to my strategy plan presented to council in order to counter the objectionable submission that amends the LPS3.
Please be aware that although my presentation was involved in the Enquiry by Design, we were ‘conveniently’ left out of the final process and final drafting of the LPS3. The subject of ocean rises never made it to the table and was therefore ignored, as it was by the main planning consultants during the process.