The Blencowe Enquiry into planning matters covered up within the City of Wanneroo
The City of Wanneroo Planning Department "COVER UP"
Enforcement of non-approved Policy Document, artificial enforced lowering of natural ground levels and resultant flooding.

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"The moment we stop standing up for injustice, then it's all over.  We might as well crawl back into the slime from which we emerged" - Alan Kessing, former Customs Officer, Sydney Airport

Cover up:  An effort or strategy of concealment, especially a planned effort to prevent something potentially scandalous from becoming public.



Has the City of Wanneroo obeyed the Law and if not, what have they done about it?  Did they rush the policy through behind closed doors after it was discovered to be already in use and enforcement?  YES THEY DID!  Is this a cover up?  You decide.  All evidence used is listed.


In October of 2002, the Government of Western Australia introduced new Residential Design Codes (R-Codes) and from that date all Council Planning Departments had to enforce them.  In October 2003, about one year later, the Planning Department of the City of Wanneroo designed their own policy supplimentary to those codes as a draft1, then when they intended to trial the document, they made the mistake of enforcing it.2  To my knowledge, no apology or compensation has been offered to the owners affected.  There are two items in that document that I believe were in conflict with the R-Codes and still are.5

In enforcing this document, they also contradicted their own Planning Department as the policy changes the "Natural Ground Levels" already approved for developers and which they agreed to at development.   This situation still exists nine years later.  The problem with this was that they forgot, they also had to obey state and federal laws which seem to be lost by the wayside.5&6  As a result, they forced builders to build homes below the natural ground level approved at development which in some cases increased the potential for flooding.7  They also delayed building licences which had the potential to cause cost run ons to home builders.

They forgot to consider the Local Government Act states that Council sets policy and not Administration staff.3
They forgot they were not permitted to enforce this policy without permission from Council.3
They forgot they were not permitted to enforce this policy without approval of the State Planning Commission.4
They forgot to consider that the R-Codes allow for raising or lowering of floor levels inside the external walls of a building as a right.5
They forgot to consider that the R-Codes allow for raising land up to 500mm above Natural Ground Level as a right.5
They forgot that under the Building Code of Australia, they should be checking that plans are designed to avoid the entry of water into a building.6


Concerned Persons who knew the policy was enforced prior to approval or subsequently took part in approving it behind closed doors:
Sam Neale, Building Approvals Coordinator, Floor level reduced from 11.50 to 11.32.9&2
Alan Savage, Planning Officer2
Clement Williams, Planning Manager - Advised me of the presence (showed me the cover) of the draft document at a meeting in the presence of the Deputy Mayor and Director of Planning.
Roman Zagwocki, Director of Planning - present at the meeting at which the document was introduced.
Deputy Mayor Sam Salpietro, convened the meeting on my behalf.
Daniel Simms, then Governance Officer, now CEO, kindly sourced and provided the draft document on the 16th of June 2004 which is now in my possession.
Charles Johnson, CEO, City of Wanneroo - brought the matter to Council behind closed doors on the 20th of Jul 2004, then publicly on 12th Dec 2004 and 1st Feb 2005.

Councillors of the City of Wanneroo who were present during the matter under suspended standing orders.  (Mayor Kelly was absent on both occasions)8
    Cr Alan Blencowe (myself) - as this matter affected a large number of ratepayers, I had an interest in common and was exempted from declaring a financial interest.  I opposed the motion!
    Cr Brett Treby, Alexander Ward
    Cr Mark Pearson Alexander Ward
    Cr Sam Salpietro (Deputy Mayor), JP Central Ward
    Cr  Frank Cvitan, JP Central Ward
    Cr  Tracey Roberts Coastal Ward
    Cr Ian Goodenough, JP Coastal Ward
    Cr Rudi Steffens CD Hester Ward
    Cr John Stewart Hester Ward
    Cr Terry Loftus North Ward
    Cr Louise McNamara North Ward
    Cr Judith Hughes South Ward (Arrived at 7:25pm)
    Cr Glynis Monks Wanneroo Ward
    Cr Dot Newton Wanneroo Ward8

Unfortunately, I am constrained from revealing legal advice provided to Council in private.

A revised plan resubmitted by the builder, also within the planning laws was allowed to run for over 90 days and never responded to (deemed refused) by the Council.


Download the Evidence zipfile
 
Go back to the flooding Image evidence page


Evidence:
1   2004 Draft Planning Policy pages 2-(cover not supplied) fax dated

2   20040218VenturaFax.jpg detailing verbal instructions provided by phone to the builder.  Ventura Drafting Manager,

3   Western Australia - Local Government Act 1995
    2.7.    Role of council
        (1)    The council —
        (a)    governs the local government’s affairs; and
        (b)    is responsible for the performance of the local government’s functions.
        (2)    Without limiting subsection (1), the council is to —
        (a)    oversee the allocation of the local government’s finances and resources; and
        (b)    determine the local government’s policies.


4   State Planning Commission controls and regulates the Wanneroo District Planning Scheme #2.
    Were they told the policy was being enforced before they approved it?  Did they censure CoW Admin?  Who Knows?

5   Residential Design Codes of Western Australia, October 2002
    3.6.1 Excavation or Fill (Acceptable Development)
        A1.2 Excavation or filling within the perimeter of the external walls of a building – limited only by compliance with building height limits.
       A1.4 Filling behind a street setback line and within one metre of a common boundary:
            • not more than 0.5m above the natural level at the boundary; or
            • retained in accordance with A2.


6 The Building Code of Australia, version amdt12.
Part F1    Damp and Weatherproofing - Deemed to Satisfy Provisions  Functional Statements
    FF1.1 A building including any associated sitework is to be constructed in a way that protects people and other property from the adverse effects of redirected surface water.
    FF1.2 A building is to be constructed to provide resistance to moisture penetrating from the outside including rising from the ground.
    FF1.3 A building is to be constructed to avoid the likelihood of-
        (a) the creation of unhealthy or dangerous conditions; and
        (b) damage to building elements, caused by dampness or water overflow from bathrooms, laundries and the like.

Part F1    Damp and Weatherproofing - Deemed to Satisfy Provisions  Performance Statements
    FP1.3 A drainage system for the disposal of surface water must-
        (a) convey surface water to an appropriate outfall;
        and
        (b) avoid the entry of water into a building; and
        (c) avoid water damaging the building.


7   19 Crivelli Parkway Ashby, 7 Lumley Close, Landsdale, 7 Uralba Court, Quinns Rocks.
     

8    City of Wanneroo council Minutes,
20th July 2004, 12th December 2004, 1st February 2005

9   City of Wanneroo letter 12th Feb 2004 - Building Approval BA03/6622


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