Woolstores structure plan backed by Albany council, moves on to WA Planning Commission for final approval

Stuart McGuckinAlbany Advertiser
Albany Woolstores owner Mark Dyson in 2021 ahead of the demolition of the historic building.
Camera IconAlbany Woolstores owner Mark Dyson in 2021 ahead of the demolition of the historic building. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

The owner of the former Albany Woolstores site has praised the council for backing a draft structure plan for the precinct and says he is eager to “keep ticking the boxes” to move forward with the development.

The comments come after the City of Albany council on Tuesday backed forwarding the structure plan and suggested modifications to the WA Planning Commission for its approval.

Rural Logistics director Mark Dyson said he was “extremely pleased” with the support he had received from the council as well as city staff.

He thanked the council for “being able to share our vision for the site’s development”.

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“Of course, there is always robust discussion with these types of developments and that is healthy for a council and its ratepayers and the wider community, so it was good to be involved through the process and to achieve the final outcomes,” he said.

At the Development and Infrastructure Services Committee meeting earlier this month, councillors backed elements of the draft plan to remain despite suggested modifications by city planning officers.

When the item was revisited at Tuesday’s ordinary meeting, there was again debate about whether the size of the setback from the existing lot’s boundary should be 20m or 30m.

Ultimately an amendment tabled by Cr Malcolm Traill to reintroduce a suggested 30m setback was successfully passed by the council 7-4.

Allowing structures of up to eight storeys and removing specifications about coastal protection measures were backed by councillors who cited the need for flexibility to unlock the potential of the site at the committee level.

Mr Dyson said the plans for the site would “significantly add to the town and its wider marketability” by expanding tourism opportunities as well as residential, commercial and green space.

“This development brings all of those together to the community,” he said.

The council’s endorsement of the plan will now see it passed on to the WAPC for final approval.

Mr Dyson said dialogue with the commission had already started and had so far been productive.

He said he was confident of things moving forward because a recent survey had identified his site as the second most significant set for redevelopment in regional WA.

“Of course, we would like to think sooner, rather than later, we can start to get things in motion at the site, but we still have some agencies we are working with on items such as titles,” he said.

“We are keen to keep ticking the boxes so we can move forward with the development responsibly at the earliest opportunity.”

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