Council enlightened after "clinic" tour
Wednesday, 1st June, 2011
By Darrin Manuel
City Councillors will be better informed on whether to allow an allied health centre to open in Morgan Street after taking a tour of the premises yesterday.
The tour was organised after councillors at last week's ordinary monthly meeting were split on whether to approve a Development Application (DA) for the centre.
Residents, who had voiced concern over traffic and parking problems that may arise if the DA was approved, lined the street with posters showing their disapproval before the tour started.
Councillors and senior Council staff were shown through the house at 342 Morgan Street by owner Susanne Olsen, who said the inspection had been a good exercise for all involved.
"Because there's so much emotion that has been aired, I think it was positive from their perspective that they could come on site and actually see the facts," she said.
"They can visually see why I chose this residence. It's important and they need to see that.
"I think they've left on a more positive note, but whether I've swayed them, that will be their decision to make."
After Councillors and staff had inspected the premises, Ms Olsen invited concerned residents to take a tour of the site.
"I'm happy for the residents to actually come on site because they have concerns, and I've demonstrated to Councillors as well as the residents here that these concerns can be addressed," she said.
"I'm fairly optimistic that we can get a win-win situation. I want to work with the community. I'm investing into the community and providing an ongoing service."
Council's General Manager, Frank Zaknich, said the tour would leave Councillors better informed before they decide whether to approve the DA at next month's Council meeting.
"It's always good to get all the information from the applicant, and it's important to understand what the proposal is that Council is being asked to determine, not someone else's view of what the application may be or may not be," he said.
"We need to determine exactly what we're looking at as a Council, take the residents' views into account, but also understand that under the planning provisions these sorts of developments are developed on merit."
The inspection left at least one Councillor in no doubt as to the future of the centre. Dave Gallagher said he stood by his decision to back a move by Councillor Bob Algate to block the Development Application.
"My views haven't changed. I've made it very clear in Council which way I'm going - I'm voting against the recommendation," he said.
"Nothing today has changed my mind. I believe that a commercial premises in a residential area just isn't the way to go."