Coastal council concerns

STATE Government moves to implement a Coastal Planning and Coordination Council to determine appropriate development along the coast has received a mixed reaction from local government authorities.

Local government mayors spoken to by WA Business News were unsure what implications the new planning body would have on future coastal development planned in their municipalities.

The new Coastal Planning and Coordination Council is a statutory sub-committee of the WA Planning Commission, which will oversee strategic planning for Western Australia’s 27,000-kilometre coast-line.

Coastal development has long been a divisive topic in the WA community. The success of the Save Ningaloo campaign is indicative of community sentiment, and given a number of high-density developments are slated for popular metropolitan coastal locations such as Scarborough and Cottesloe, the issue is likely to remain a contentious one for the State Government.

The aim of the newly formed council will be to increase community involvement in coastal planning decisions and improve integrated decision making.

Town of Cottesloe mayor Robert Rowell said he was yet to discover what impact the proposal would have on the town’s plans for its coastline.

Multiplex is yet to unveil its plans for the Cottesloe Hotel, however Mr Rowell said a development application was imminent.

In addition to the Cottesloe Hotel project, Mr Rowell said Multiplex was also planning to develop an international hotel on the site of the Ocean Beach Hotel.

“The way we read it, it’s telling local government what to do,” he said.

The Town of Cottesloe is apprehensive that a one-size-fits-all approach will be taken.

Mr Rowell said Cottesloe did not want to follow in the path of Scarborough-style development.

According to Town of Cambridge Mayor Marlene Ann Anderson, the new coastal planning council would add an unnecessary layer to the current planning approval process.

Ms Anderson said development applications already had to meet the requirements of the metropolitan planning scheme and local government.

“Local governments are equipped to determine their own planning requirements on the coast,” she said.

“Ultimately the local people have to have a say.”

City of Stirling Mayor Tony Vallelonga and City of Cockburn Mayor Stephen Lee declined to comment. Both said they remained uncertain what role the new body would play in town-planning decisions.

The Coastal Planning and Coordination Council is to be chaired by Curtin University Department of Urban and Regional Planning head, David Wood.

Dr Wood will also be appointed to the Western Australian Planning Commission to ensure an advocate for the coastline has direct input into WAPC development decisions.

Other council members include conservationist Paul Gamblin, who headed up the Save Ningaloo campaign, City of Fremantle mayor Peter Tagliaferri, developer Darren Cooper and environmental scientist Regina Flugge.

Planning and Infrastructure Minister Allanah MacTiernan said the survey would be a key tool for public input into the proposed metropolitan coastal strategy, particularly on issues such as scale and density.

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