The proponents of a proposed future winery on Clews Road in Cowaramup have squirrelled their way out of an expensive public artwork cost. In a session of the State’s Regional Development Assessment Panel on February 3, consultant Tayne Evershed, acting for the yet-to-be-named planned winery, argued against the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River’s bid to include the public artwork, valued at about one per cent of the overall multimillion dollar construction cost. Minutes from the determination, released last week, showed JDAP considered the Shire’s bid, but the artwork policy was not a local law and failed to demonstrate the need for the added cost. “The Shire’s desire for public art and the high quality and scale of the development was not disputed,” presiding member Kinella Hope said. “However, the Shire’s rationale for the condition is a policy position. “This position lacks implementation criteria and planning rationale, criteria and planning rationale that is typically found in a Local Planning Policy or a Development Contribution Scheme.” Removing the artwork condition would have no effect on the 2021 approval for the Clews Road winery, JDAP noted. The minutes also disclosed an error in the Shire’s original submission which incorrectly named the public art policy document which the Times understands failed to include the one per cent value expectation. “It is noted that in condition 6 of the original approval, the wording of the condition inadvertently referred to Governance and Business Excellence Policy 5.8 – Public Art Policy,” the report said. “The wording of the condition 6 should have referred to CCSP15 as the applicable policy to apply the per cent for art condition for the development.” However, the error was not a factor in the JDAP determination. In their application, the Shire noted the developer was advised of the public art contribution “at the earliest stages of the proposal”. The winery occupies a 16.5ha strata lot on 76.2ha of land zoned for intensive agriculture and rural industry. The development includes a restaurant as well as the winery, production facility and sales outlet.