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Managing development

Facilitating appropriate land use and development in and around the Swan Canning Development Control Area is a key responsibility of Parks and Wildlife and the Swan River Trust.

Parks and Wildlife ensures new developments maintain and enhance the ecological health, community benefits, amenity and heritage value of the Swan and Canning river system. It also works in partnership with local governments and the Department of Planning to provide advice on strategic planning proposals likely to impact on water quality and water quantity in the Swan Canning river system. Advice is based upon the application of Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) that integrates stormwater, groundwater and wastewater management and water supply into urban design to minimise environmental degradation and improve aesthetic and recreational appeal. Parks and Wildlife helps deliver the Better Urban Water Management framework framework for integrating water management into the WA land use planning system.

Parks and Wildlife provides funding support to the New WAter Ways program which provides resources to and builds the capacity of practitioners of WSUD in Western Australia. Parks and Wildlife is an active member of the New WAter Ways partnership, which includes the Department of Planning, Department of Water, Western Australian Local Government Association and Urban Development Institute of Australia. Parks and Wildlife also works in partnership with other agencies, local governments and universities to research technologies and further develop decision making tools for the Swan Coastal Plain through the national Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Water Sensitive Cities.

Parks and Wildlife assesses development proposals in and around the Riverpark and provides advice to ensure projects do not adversely affect the river environment, while meeting community expectations.

Development pressure

Perth is undergoing rapid growth, with the population doubling during the past 30 years and expected to reach 3.5 million people by 2050. Urban and rural developments throughout the catchment are placing increased pressure on the Swan Canning Development Control Area.

Without proper land use planning and development processes, increased sediment transport and mobilisation of nutrients and other contaminants into the Development Control Area can occur. With a drying climate there is also an increased need to maintain flows to the rivers as land uses change.

Major riverfront developments can also exert pressure on the Development Control Area and should be designed to enhance the quality if the river through the use of water sensitive urban design. Developments should also be built on the principle of enhancing public spaces along the waterfront to allow the community to continue to enjoy the highly regarded amenity of the rivers.

There is a need to balance development with the strong community desire to conserve and enhance the riverine environment, protect its landscape amenity and maintain and improve public access to the rivers for a range of recreation activities.