Council will decide BP fate, again

Taelor PeluseyAugusta Margaret River Times
Council will again vote on a development application that would see a BP service station and Wild Bean cafe franchise built just south of Cowaramup’s CBD.
Camera IconCouncil will again vote on a development application that would see a BP service station and Wild Bean cafe franchise built just south of Cowaramup’s CBD. Credit: AP

Lawyers have advised Augusta-Margaret River Shire councillors to bring the contentious plans for a BP service station just south of Cowaramup’s CBD back to a council vote.

Shire president Ian Earl confirmed legal experts advised it was in the Shire’s best interest to reconsider the application, currently embroiled in a State Administrative Tribunal appeal, and councillors voted on Wednesday to accept the item at the next council meeting on August 23.

Councillors locked in what was believed to be the core financial commitment — up to $70,000 in legal costs — last month.

However, a recent and unprecedented decision by the tribunal, which ruled for the City of Bayswater to pay more than $100,000 in costs to WA Limestone, could have implications for the BP appeal.

The shock decision reported by The West Australian last week was unique because parties involved in appeals usually paid their own costs.

The tribunal also criticised Bayswater’s mayor and the reluctance of councillors to follow the recommendations of City officers.

Councillors were applauded by a packed gallery in May, when the development was knocked back against officers’ advice.

The application was deemed to comply with planning and development regulations, but still attracted 297 submissions against it and prompted the formation of the protest group, Cowaramup Says No.

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