There is growing speculation that the EPA (and or some other department) has pressured the Conservation Commission (our peak body for caring for our State’s natural environment) to withdraw their appeal against the EPA’s approval of the highly controversial Mangles Bay Marina (a proposed canal housing/marina development in Point Peron in Rockingham).
This development is a partnership between the State Government’s development arm (Landcorp) and a private developer (Cedar Woods).
Here are the Conservation Commission’s Appeal and withdrawal letters to Albert Jacobs the Minister for the Environment. The first letter is an appeal against the EPA’s decision outlining their concerns. The Conservation Commission clearly states at the end of their appeal that the Conservation Commission “does not support the Mangles Bay Marina Based Tourist Precinct as presented in the public environmental review document (February 2012) [their original submission against the development] remains unchanged.” Note the following notification of withdraw letter gives no reason why they have changed their minds.
So what has changed? They obviously have a reason for changing their minds, surely we the public have a right to know? This has prompted Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren to ask the following questions in Parliament (responses from Helen Morton MLC);
Hansard Report 11/06/13
(1) Did the Conservation Commission submit an appeal to the Appeals Convenor concerning the Environmental Protection Authority’s conditional approval for the Mangles Bay marina?
(2) Will the minister table any or all documents by the Conservation Commission regarding the proposed Mangles Bay marina?
(3) Has the Conservation Commission been requested or ordered by the minister to rescind the repeal?
(4) If yes to (3), on what basis?
(5) Has the Conservation Commission been requested or ordered by any other party to rescind the appeal?
(6) If yes to (5), on what basis?
Hansard Report 12/06/13
(1) Did the minister discuss the Conservation Commission’s appeal on the Environmental Protection Authority’s decision to approve the Mangles Bay marina proposal before the commission withdrew the appeal?
(2) If so, what was the nature of the discussion?
(3) Has the minister received advice from the Conservation Commission regarding the proposal to carve
canals out of the Point Peron peninsula for the establishment of a marina at Mangles Bay?
(4) Will the minister table that advice?
(5) Is the Conservation Commission opposed to the proposal?
Here is Lynn MacLaren’s media statement
Also see this article in the Weekend Courier with more – Questions over/appeal withdrawal
We have contacted the Conservation Commission and have requested answers to the following questions (which will be posted as soon as they respond);
1) Is the Conservation Commission aware that this development is predominantly a canal housing estate with 300/400 residential blocks?
2) The development offers 500 boat pens. Do you know if the residential blocks would all have private jetties (as is often the case) in addition to the 500 boat pens in the “marina”? Because if so, the pollution and impacts of all of those extra boats must also be considered? How many boat pens did you include in your calculations?
3) Does the Conservation Commission know exactly how many residential blocks, how many cafes, how many hotels etc. will be included in the development?
4) Is the Conservation Commission now certain the offsets recommended by the EPA would match the developments residual impacts?
5) Does the Conservation Commission now believe that all of the EPAs conditions for this development are consistent with the West Australian Government’s Environment Offsets Policy? If not which conditions are not consistent with the policy?
6) Does Conservation Commission believe that the EPA’s Report and Recommendations (Report 1471) on this development now adequately addresses the Conservation Commission’s submission on the public environment review document (around you comments on nature conservation values of regional and international importance)?
7) Is the Conservation Commission aware of the dangerously high levels of mercury in the area? Will dredging during and after construction stir up that mercury (and possibly other toxins and heavy metals) to unacceptable levels? Are you certain this mercury will not pose a risk to wildlife and humans? See and here
9) Does the Conservation Commission now support the Mangles Bay Marina canal housing and marina development?
10) Has anyone from the EPA or the Department for the Environment or anyone else requested or pressured you or anyone in your department to withdraw your appeal on the EPA approval of this development?