Please see our Petition to ban canal estate developments in WA , to be returned by Monday 13th of October 2014.
According to the WAPC, definition of Canal Estate is as follows;
See Development Control Policy 1.8 Canal Estates and Artificial Waterway Developments page 45 (as at 19th September, 2014).
- Algae blooms in single entrance marinas
- Siltation of entrances and canals
- Deposition of wrack (seaweed) at or near entrances
- Concrete cancer of walls and construction
- Loss of seagrass (Point Peron) from dredging, boats and pollution which has many benefits to people, industry and the environment;
- Stabilises the sand
- Helps prevent coastal erosion
- Helps protect from tidal waves (storm surges)
- Filters and cleans the water
- Prevents algal blooms
- Provides food and habitat for marine animals, birds and other sea plants
- Infiltration of salt water into nearby lakes, wetlands and ground water, often affecting local bores
- Collapse of Karst limestone leading to pot holes
- Loss of Bush Forever, which is habitat for wildlife (i.e. Carnaby’s cockatoos, Graceful sun moth)
- Clearing of wildlife corridors
- Negative impacts on marine life (penguins etc.)
- Clearing of protective coastal foreshore reserves that absorb the impact of storms and flooding. After Super Storm Sandy, New York in spending $350m to build a vegetation buffer around Manhattan to shields the city against floods and stormwater. In WA we are clearing coastal vegetation and building vulnerable housing estates in its place.
- Privatisation and commercialisation of reserved public land for exclusive housing and a pleasure craft marina for the benefit of a few. This is not fitting with the traditional cultural and heritage values of the site, which has been for generations an affordable sea side location for family picnics, day trips and holidays. Not for the champagne set.
- Loss of public green space in a rapidly growing region.
- Opportunity cost of not creating an eco-tourist park, when tourists really want nature not man-made attractions
- Traffic congestion in and out of canal estates in many cases
- Loss of public access
- Noise and dust during construction
- Wasteland after construction and before building of houses
- Solastalgia – the sense of anxiety, loss and sadness experienced by people when their local environment is destroyed
- Safety issues, if dredging and maintenance of the marina are not carried out properly, as seen recently at the Ocean Reef Marina, where poor maintenance cause a yachting accident. Resulting in members of one of the clubs calling for the marina to be closed, until dredged properly.
- Perth is one of the windiest cities in the world. The windiest point on the Perth metropolitan coastline is Ocean Reef. This may be great for Yachts, but it is not suitable for housing (see image below).
- Cost of dredging, flushing, maintaining and correcting the above environmental impacts. See page Counting the costs of building canals
- Costly structural corrections (i.e. the State Government just forked out $28M to fix the Port Geograph canal development disaster)
- Inevitable damage from more extreme weather events, such as cyclones and storm surges going forward, with potentially massive costs to tax payers and uninsured or underinsured property owners. The floor heights of canal houses are set to accommodate sea level rise and small storms, but are not adequate to protect from the major storms that are being predicted with climate change along our coast. See the recently released report by the Climate Institute and Choice – Buyer Beware.
- According to Blake Dawson (2011) “Western Australia has Coastal Climate Change (CCC) policies but they cover a limited scope of issues.”
- In the event of a destructive cyclone with storm surges around Perth or any of our major towns, the damage would be extensive. The developers would get off scot free, because they follow planning regulations set by the State Government and therefore act within the law. Insurance companies do not cover for inundation from the ocean and very few cover for flooding from storm surges, especially in high risk coastal areas, so they will not suffer too greatly. If they were hit hard, premiums go up or disappear completely. The State Government may not be too concerned, because the Commonwealth Government typically fork out for natural disasters, often borrowing from banks to cover the costs. The big winners are the building and construction industry, because they go into over drive, charging premium rates to rebuild. This drives the cost of building and materials up for everyone.
- Higher rates and taxes due to high Government expenditure
- Current role/responsibility in canal management for Local Governments, according to the WAPC – Development Control Policy 1.8 Canal estates and artificial waterway developments 2012 (see page 41);
• assessment of scheme amendments, subdivision and
• formulation of local laws and vessel mooring management plan
and cyclone contingency plan;
• post-canal construction management/defects liability period;
• provision of community facilities and infrastructure;
• dredging and maintenance of waterway depth;
• maintenance of breakwaters;
• monitoring and management of water quality;
• collection and removal of weed or waste;
• repair and replacement of pumps and equipment required for
water exchange and flushing;
• water quality monitoring for microbes (ie. bacteria, viruses,
protozoa, etc.) and chemical monitoring (ie. nutrients, heavy
• environmental pollution control;
• mosquito control;
• foreshore management; and
• environmental audits
- Sea-level rise and planning : retrospect and prospect 2013 (scroll down to read article)
- Recommendations to State Council (WALGA) to ban canal developments in WA . Agenda March 2012 (page 25) “
“The Association recommends that the WAPC make a strong policy position on canal estates by legislating a total ban on any further canal estate developments within WA. The Draft Development Control Policy 1.8 – Canal Estates and artificial waterways should, therefore, be removed from the planning framework, due to the potential negative environmental, economic and social impacts of the estates, as they create an unsustainable development approach for the provision of residential land within WA.”
Also note page 26;
Sea level rise
“Although a medium to long term risk, sea level rise will have a significant impact on coastal infrastructure and communities. The risk to coastal development, particularly canal/estuary development, could create significant liability and cost issues for Local Government. Liability may also fall to Local Government involved in the land use planning process at development approval stage due to insensitive planning which does not take into account sea level rise impacts.”
“Given climate change implications, including rising sea levels, it is considered
inappropriate to continue to support this form of development within the WA planning system, therefore, the submission recommends that the WAPC legislate a total ban on any future canal estate developments.”
The recommendations were ignored see Minutes March 2012
- Perth at risk of cyclone flood “Mr Baverstock said if Perth was affected by another cyclone that coincided with unusually high tides and forecast sea level rises upwards of 50cm, the city could be faced with a “wall of water effectively as high as a tsunami”.
- National Hurricane Center (US) – Storm Surge Overview Note animations with shallow continental shelf and high continental shelf and Surge Vulnerability Facts (US);
- From 1990-2008, population density increased by 32% in Gulf coastal counties, 17% in Atlantic coastal counties, and 16% in Hawaii (U.S. Census Bureau 2010)
- Much of the United States’ densely populated Atlantic and Gulf Coast coastlines lie less than 10 feet above mean sea level
- Over half of the Nation’s economic productivity is located within coastal zones
- 72% of ports, 27% of major roads, and 9% of rail lines within the Gulf Coast region are at or below 4 ft elevation (CCSP, SAP 4-7)
- A storm surge of 23 ft has the ability to inundate 67% of interstates, 57% of arterials, almost half of rail miles, 29 airports, and virtually all ports in the Gulf Coast area (CCSP SAP 4-7)
- The Impact of Climate Change on Insurance against Catastrophes (Australia 2003).
- The Dangers of a Storm Surge
- Climate response – Issues, costs and liabilities in adapting to climate
change in Australia Griffith University 2007 (pg 13)
- Natural hazard risk in Perth p6. “The fact that Perth has not experienced a major flood or cyclone impact in recent times has led to an increased level of complacency and lack of risk awareness. This highlights the need for describing and communicating the level of risk so people can be informed and prepared for the next major event when it occurs.”, The Hon Warren Entsch MP Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources
Australian Government’s Geoscience Australia – OzCoasts predictions for sea level rises (without storms or other extreme tidal events).
- Coastwatch – Impact of coastal erosion in Australia
Do coastal shires have Storm tide evacuation maps ?
- Alberta insurance policies changing after $1.7B in flood payouts
- Calgary’s Manhattan Moment warnings ignored
- Do Not Buy Oceanfront Property “Sea levels rose mere inches in the 20th century, but scientists estimate that oceans could rise 2 to 7 feet by 2100. Even 1 foot—possible in some places within the next few decades, or less than the length of a 30-year mortgage—will eat away at beaches and destroy homes. Nuisance flooding has already increased significantly on all U.S. coasts, with no hurricanes or other storms required, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported in July. Just play a bit with Climate Central’s Surging Seas sea-level manipulation map and it’s easy to see why coastal areas might be risky places to invest in. Even a tiny increase puts swaths of beach and waterside land at risk of being drowned.”
- The Truth Is In The Flood Maps The Globe Mail, May 2012, article about home insurance after the Queensland floods (see part 1 and part 2).
“Two things strike you when you look at these maps: the vulnerability of so many Australian householders, and the towering stupidity of the local and state governments, which blithely approved such development.”