Ocean Village Shopping Centre on Kilpa Court.

Ocean Village Shopping Centre site sale locked in after dramatic scenes at council meeting

Source: The West Australian

A man was escorted from a Town of Cambridge council meeting on Tuesday night after he repeatedly interrupted and heckled a property developer representative and then refused orders to leave.

Mayor Keri Shannon was forced to adjourn the meeting to deal with the agitated ratepayer while Blackburne’s director of developments Matthew Chau was speaking about the sale of two town-owned carparks in City Beach, which the council has now approved.

She asked the man in the gallery to keep quiet before security officers and town CEO Gary Tuffin were forced to intervene and eventually escort him out of the council chambers.

Mr Chau was making his final appeal to the council on why Blackburne should be allowed to buy the carparks around its Ocean Village Shopping Centre site on Kilpa Court for $8.9 million when the aggrieved ratepayer started to shout.

The heckling started after Mr Chau said Blackburne bought the site because it liked the trees.

The man in the gallery accused Blackburne of “lying” and “brainwashing the public” before retorting to Ms Shannon that they “will have to carry me out” before he was eventually escorted from the chamber.

After the drama, the council voted 8-1 — with Cr Xavier Carr against — to allow the sale of the carparks.

Blackburne bought the company which owns the dilapidated Ocean Village Shopping Centre site last year and has since revealed hopes of developing the area as a neighbourhood town centre, including residential apartments and retail.

Mr Chau said Blackburne had held about 20 community consultation sessions and “nearly all the feedback” supported integrating the land for use in a potential development.

“That bitumen carpark … is under a license agreement so the reason it couldn’t go through a public tender, or shouldn’t go through a public tender, is because it can only be sold to one party and that is the owner of the shopping centre because they have got this licence agreement over the carpark in perpetuity,” he said.

“Selling to the owner of the shopping centre does allow for the potential for redevelopment, however, which most people think is a good thing.”

Several residents raised concerns earlier in the meeting about how developing the site could affect nearby tuart trees.

However, Mr Chau said any future development would require extensive assessments of noise, traffic and tree matters.

“There’s no application for a development on the table, there is no suggestion of cutting down trees … those designs haven’t started yet,” he said.

“We do look forward to getting into that stage, but until we know how much land we are dealing with, we can’t really commence that process.”

Mr Chau said developers had obligations under the R-Codes to keep existing trees on site and they had purchased the site for that feature.

The council held its own community consultation on the proposal over eight weeks.

The latest round received 209 responses online, with 79 per cent supporting the sale.

A town report said if the town did not sell the land to Blackburne, it would have to continue providing the carpark to the shopping centre without receiving any income in return.

The report also said more ecological surveys of the bush areas would be required before any development could occur.

The council would stand to receive about $375,000 in rates each year for the next decade if the site is redeveloped into a neighbourhood centre.