Speedy panel approves plans

AMY WILLIAMSBroome Advertiser

Plans for a $15 million tourist development at Cable Beach were approved within half an hour last week at the first meeting under WA’s new planning approvals regime.

The 15 development assessment panels came into effect on July 1 and each comprises three government-appointed planning professionals and two elected members from a local council.

Planning Minister John Day said this week the panels would “streamline processes previously hindered by red tape”.

The panels will assess and approve applications greater than $7 million, except the City of Perth, where the benchmark will be $15 million.

Opt-in levels are $3 million to $7 million and $10 million to $15 million respectively.

At the inaugural meeting of the Kimberley Development Assessment Panel in Broome last week, the Cable Beach development by Broome Resort Developments was approved with minimal discussion and only minor amendments for clarification.

Whelans had applied for approval on behalf of developer Broome Resort Developments.

Broome Resort Developments asset management director Eric Ng said: “It is the first site we have acquired in Broome and we are very pleased the plan has been approved.”

Plans for the first stage of the three-stage development involve 80 short-stay units, 48 long-stay units, a manager’s residence, restaurant, bars, retail tenancies, function room, day spa/gymnasium, two pools and a two-level car park.

Planning Institute of Australia WA division president Paul Kotsoglo, who chaired the meeting, said it was an historic occasion.

“I expect the DAP process will bring clarity and responsible decision-making … and there could be a lot of development,” he said.

“But if it is going to happen the way councils want it to, it is going to be fundamental they have their statutory, strategic and policy documents in order, because the DAP process applies those rigorously.

“If the rules are in place they are applied, if not, it’s difficult to apply them.”

Mr Kotsoglo would not be drawn on detail but said in the past, without the DAP process, councils without such guidelines in place had made some “interesting” decisions.

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