Developers call out footpath fee

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times
A developer has described fees to contribute to a footpath as “adhoc and unfair”.
Camera IconA developer has described fees to contribute to a footpath as “adhoc and unfair”. Credit: Graphic / South Western Times

Bunbury City Council is again being challenged by a developer who is refusing to contribute to footpaths surrounding a development.

In November last year, R & M Prosser was granted approval for a residential development on prime land at Ocean Drive.

One condition of the development is a $2727 contribution to a new footpath.

But developer Steve Prosser is refusing to agree to the condition, describing the fee as “adhoc and unfair”.

It comes as the council last month refused to budge on a similar matter with Citygate Properties – owned by Mr Prosser’s brother, Geoff – over a development on Spencer Street.

The council voted to stand by its decision for a $6240 footpath upgrade contribution on that matter.

In a letter to the council, Steve Prosser said he was disappointed the latest development condition would not be deleted.

“Council have been placing this charge on developers since 2002 and for all this time have had no guidance in the determination or calculation of the rate,” Mr Prosser said.

“I ask how can the city (City of Bunbury) make a fair and sound decision on how much to charge with no policy to guide them in respect to each site.

“There is no account for the existing state of the footpath or whether a footpath will be installed on the lot in question.

“The decision is solely left to the planner’s judgement, which can vary from one developer to another, or from one suburb to another.”

It is understood the council’s Policy Review and Development Committee is in the middle of drafting a Footpath Contribution Policy, but Mayor Gary Brennan previously told the South Western Times the condition was part of its fees and charges.

“But we are going to add more science around it ... I do acknowledge we need to provide more clear guidelines for developers to understand what it’s about and how it is estimated,” Mr Brennan said.

Mr Prosser has argued the policy cannot be acted on until it is endorsed by the council.

The council will be advised to keep the condition when it votes on the matter next week.

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