The Shire of Augusta-Margaret River will oppose a major childcare centre slated for Rapids Landing. The developer of the proposed site, which seeks to occupy three residential lots on Leschenaultia Avenue, has opted for the project to go before WA’s Joint Development Assessment Panel next week. In recommending against the centre, which aims to offer places to 92 children, the local government said it failed to meet various criteria and did not belong on residential land. The project also received four objections from residents during public advertising earlier this year. The Shire council last week backed a responsible authority report which would serve as the local government’s submission to JDAP. The report said the location of the big childcare centre would lead to “unplanned commercial activity” within a residential zone which failed to accord with the endorsed Rapids Landing structure plan. The proposal failed to integrate with the residential area, with carparks and high fencing at odds with the neighbourhood, which would affect neighbours and give rise to potential legal challenges because of residential covenants affecting existing homeowners. The project also relied on the WA Planning Commission’s willingness to amalgamate the three residential lots required, the Shire report said. The applicants said the centre would operate on weekdays between 6.30am and 6.30pm with 31 parking bays and access off Leschenaultia Avenue as well as MacLaren Crescent. The single-storey complex would measure 542sqm with 652sqm of outdoor play areas, occupying three lots earmarked for homes. The Shire report said the restrictive covenant limiting development of residential lots was not disclosed by the owners until the application for the childcare centre was under way. “The validity of the application was then called into question and has been subject to deliberation between lawyers on behalf of the applicant, Lester Group, on behalf of the owner, and the DAP secretariat,” the report said. “Advice from the DAP secretariat to the Shire confirmed that the application could not be cancelled and would need to be determined by the JDAP.” The Shire report said the application failed to meet WAPC-endorsed plans including the subdivision’s 2006 Outline Development Plan, the Shire’s Local Planning Scheme, and the design principles of State Planning Policy 7. The Shire council itself was unable to alter the officer’s report because of JDAP protocol, and elected members did not foreshadow any separate council submission.