The Shire of Collie council voted to approve a controversial plan to relocate a vet clinic to the centre of town at the council meeting on February 13.
The council voted five for and two against the motion to approve Jules Vandenbergh’s application to relocate Collie Veterinary Services from Lefroy Street to a larger property on Harvey Street.
About 30 members of the community filled the council’s public gallery to witness the vote, which had received a large amount of community interest.
The shire had held public consultation prior to the meeting, with 25 submissions about the proposal received.
Fourteen submissions were supportive of the proposal, citing the improvements the new centre would have and its effect on the economy, while 11 submissions were against the proposal due to concerns about noise, smell and parking issues.
The shire had also received a petition with more than 200 signatures against the proposal.
There were also concerns raised about the legality of the development, as the shire had received a letter from Kroon Lawyers stating the application could breach local laws.
However the shire’s Development Services Director Andrew Dover said during the meeting the letter referred mainly to potential breaches of the shire’s Local Law No. 8–Health, which the council could not consider as the vet centre had already been operating in accordance with that law.
Councillors Brett King, Rebecca Woods and Gary Faries, who all voted for the motion, said the extensive list of conditions applied to the proposal meant the areas of concern raised by the community were being addressed.
The conditions include limiting noise and odour emissions, providing separate parking bays for horse floats and the construction of electronic gates to keep animals from escaping.
Mr Dover said any breaches of the conditions would allow the shire to take the vet clinic to court if they weren’t resolved. He also said any breaches with a ‘major community impact’ would result in the issue being brought back to council.
However councillors Joe Italiano and Leonie Scoffern, who voted against the motion, said they did not feel the Harvey Street location was not appropriate for a vet considering the other businesses in the surrounding area.
Councillor Scoffern also cited concerns about the safety of the car park area, particularly with the possibility of having children around horses and horse floats.
Shire chief executive officer David Blurton said it would be the responsibility of the vet centre to make sure that the car parking area is safe.