One of the first reforms Charles Smith MLC will attempt if re-elected is get rid of Development Assessment Panels (DAPs). The power this unelected group of bureaucrats have is scandalous. They have the final say in planning law no matter how much local people oppose overdevelopment. The McGowan Government and the Liberal opposition are treating the Western Australia public like second-class citizens.

Both parties strongly support DAPs. In stark contrast their views on public involvement in the planning system is arrogant and out of touch. The Labor Government are totally opposed to giving third party’s appeal rights to rate payers, property owners and communities adversely affected by DAP decisions 

City of Joondalup needs more civic architecture – not uninspiring metal structures.

The City of Joondalup (COJ) is originally designed on the principles of traditional western architecture.

But it is now being turned into a mishmash of architectural styles. An ugly 17 storey high-rise glass and steel tower block overhangs the town centre. A uninspiring 8-storey Government building looks completely out of place in the Joondalup landscape. A large white metal structure with layered aluminium panel’s. Approved by a Development Assessment Panel.

It is interesting to note, studies reveal buildings and cities can affect well-being. Perhaps this is beyond the scope of DAP’s. The members are picked by the State Planning Minister and are not required to have any qualifications in town planning or architecture.

Classical civic buildings bring local people together around shared interests and community purpose. The Joondalup library building and surrounding urban design is an excellent example of this.

A Global City?

The COJ Mayor has stated he would like to change Perth’s City of the North into a Global City. The COJ recruited a new CEO, Mr James Pearson who will be at the forefront of the COJ’s Global City vision. Mr Pearson previously worked for the Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA and he will receive a very generous salary package from the COJ. Exceeding that of the WA State Premier, the new CEO will obtain a salary of $1.8 million plus over 5 years.

So is a Global City what the citizens of the Northern suburbs would like? Unfortunately they have no say in the matter.

The Global City has its critics. One commentator argues that the Global city with it’s homogenous high rise buildings could be located in any number of metropolises across the globe. And it would be hard to observe much difference. He calls this the non-place, where history, traditional architecture and national identity are not on offer.

Scathing comments relate to the impacts the Global City has on local communities, “The globalization of cities and their elites often comes at the expense of many of the people who live there. Forced to compete with immigrant workers, native-born residents of cities often feel displaced, becoming strangers in what they thought was their own place”.

The COJ has their large education campuses attended by thousands of foreign students. All foreign students have automatic work rights on entry into Australian providing intense competition for jobs with local West Australian youth and unemployed citizens.

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