14/12/2004 - 21:00

Reader Response - ‘LandCorp and ‘affordability’

14/12/2004 - 21:00


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‘LandCorp and ‘affordability’

IN his letter to the editor (WA Business News, November 25) LandCorp chief executive Ross Holt challenges my claim (WA Business News, November 18) that the Harvest Lakes development was previously a wetland.

He is clearly not up to speed with the EPA’s latest definition of wetland, now being used to ‘quarantine’ vast tracts of private land. I’m sure he will find the definition as absurd as we do, but nonetheless my claim stands that, under that definition, most of Harvest Lakes would have been precluded from residential develop-ment – at least in private hands.

I have a series of coloured photos taken at Harvest Lakes before and after development. I use them regularly in discussions to entertain our growing membership through-out the South West where so-called ‘wetlands’ are a hot topic. Mr Holt is most welcome to a private showing. The photos make a mockery of any claim that wetland was not excavated and filled for residential development at Harvest Lakes – in other words that a blatant exception was made to the wetland rule.

Any reader interested in the case should take a drive down memory lane – old Beenyup Road. Where it cuts through the Harvest Lakes development, there is now thoughtfully preserved, an avenue of ancient paperbarks, set in a man-made canyon, walled on both sides by two-metre high limestone blocks.

The old road is close to the original wetland level, while behind the limestone walls, after excavation of the peat and removal of the paperbarks, is two metres of sand fill, on which lovely homes are now built.

With respect, Mr Holt, I am not having a shot at your development – on the contrary it’s quite an achievement, including the nice little touch providing local kids with a ‘Conservation Centre’. 

My point is that there are double standards in the whole business that thousands of Western Aust-ralians are now beginning to sniff.

I know, however, you have an excellent sense of humour – we still get a laugh reading the build-up to LandCorp’s record sales figures at Mandurah Canals, which quoted you reminding us that the development “wasn’t just for silvertails” (The Weekend Australian, February 28/29).

We think it’s great that you keep these gems coming, because seriously, it’s vital that land remains affordable.

However well intentioned, these all-devouring policy initiatives like Bush Plan and Coastal Wetlands drastically reduce available future urban land, making home ownership an impossible dream, for all but the silvertails.

Leo Killigrew           

Coalition for Property Rights


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