14/01/2021 - 13:00

Marina clearing permit modified after appeal

14/01/2021 - 13:00

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A permit for the clearance of almost 30 hectares of vegetation for the $126.5 million Ocean Reef Marina development has been modified following an appeal by concerned residents.

Marina clearing permit modified after appeal
The two-kilometre long breakwaters at Ocean Reef Marina will be the longest in Western Australia. Photo: WA Government.

Environmental conservationists fighting to stop the clearance of almost 30 hectares of vegetation for the $126.5 million Ocean Reef Marina development have had a small win, with the environment minister conceding that conditions should be applied to improve environmental outcomes.

The permit granted by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation allowing DevelopmentWA to clear 2.89 hectares of a former Bush Forever site was the subject of a review by the Office of the Appeals convenor after 279 residents raised concerns that the department had failed to address the impact on the site’s flora and fauna.

Appellants also raised concerns about the agreement that facilitated the rezoning of the land from a reserve to urban use - removing protections and allowing for the land-based approvals.

In 2014, the EPA agreed that the land could be developed subject to an agreement between the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage, the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions and the EPA that an area of land in Carabooda would be managed for conservation purposes in exchange for the development.

But appellants argued that the Carabooda site contained different vegetation and was not an appropriate offset for the site at Ocean Reef.

While the department’s assessment and subsequent permit approval processes were found to be generally appropriate, Environment Minister Stephen Dawson agreed that the conditions of the permit should be modified and allowed the appeal in part.

Last week, the minister added four new conditions to the permit, including one which required DevelopmentWA to consult with local community groups and rehabilitate a five hectare area of vegetation at the site, as well as the acquired site at Carabooda.

Ocean Reef Citizens Group executive committee member Liz Re said the additional conditions on the permit were a win for the group, highlighting the importance of the third party appeal process, but believed that they did not go far enough to protect flora and fauna at the site.

Ms Re said the group would now be focused on ensuring that the conditions were adhered to and that the appropriate consultation was undertaken.

“It shows that people weren’t happy and what it does is it gives us time and ensures more accountability,” she said.

“Our primary concern was that the land exchange wasn’t like for like and that the application plan submitted is entirely different from what is being pursued now.

“The focus now will be determining which community group they will be required to consult and making sure those conditions are adhered to.”

The marina development has been considered for the better half of a century, but is now set to become a reality - featuring Perth's first ocean pool,12,000sqm of retail and commercial spaces, 550 boat pens, 320 trailer parking bays, a youth plaza, an ocean-themed playground, a waterfront promenade, food and beverage businesses and residential development.

In November, the state government appointed WA Limestone and Italia Stone Group to construct two new two-kilometre-long $60 million breakwaters for the new marina. 

Construction of the breakwaters will require about 950,000 tonnes of granite and limestone and is expected to commence in the coming months, with completion expected by mid-2022. 

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