Cowaramup Bay News and Views
Newsletter of the Gracetown Progress Association Inc
Winter 2009 Edition 5.1
This is the ninth edition of the Cowaramup Bay News and Views. The aim is to keep interested members of our community informed and updated on environmental, social, political, economic and cultural activities affecting the Gracetown community.
If you have any information of general interest to contribute to the next issue, please send to firstname.lastname@example.org or to the Gracetown Progress Association Inc., PO Box 356 Cowaramup WA 6284.
GPA PRESIDENT'S REPORT August 2009
Dear community members
The Association’s year started at Easter with AGM on 10 April followed by the Bay Swim on April 11 and a function in the evening at which the focal point was the celebration of Arthur’s 80th birthday. Once again the Bay Swim and the evening function were very popular and enjoyable events.
At the AGM a number of amendments were made to the GPA’s Constitution that broadened the opportunities for people to join the GPA, and I hope many of you will join and support the GPA. Many of the activities around Gracetown are coordinated through the GPA, including management of the hall and the TV retransmission that we all enjoy, environmental work, social events and interaction with Landcorp and the Shire regarding development and other issues. GPA membership provides financial and community support for these activities, so please join and make your contribution.
The GPA Committee for 2009/10 is:
President – David Martin
Vice President – Bruce Macaulay
Secretary – Jill Anderson
Treasurer – David Burges
Members – John James, Tom Jamieson, Sheldon Pritchard and Ian Englert
The GPA now has a page on the Bay Store web site, thanks to the support of Cass Fisher at the Bay Store. We will endeavour to post as much material as we can on this site, particularly concerning Landcorp’s proposed residential development. Go to www.baystore.com.au
and follow the link to the GPA page.
The proposed residential development by Landcorp in Gracetown has continued to occupy much of the GPA’s attention, as it probably will for the next few years. In April the GPA held a community forum, immediately prior to its AGM, at which the issues that are causing concern for the community in relation to the proposed residential development were revisited. One of the outcomes of these meetings was a decision to restate the basis on which the Gracetown community has engaged with Landcorp regarding the development. We felt that this was important in view of the number of changes in personnel at Landcorp, within the project team and in Government since the basis for engagement was first set out in a letter to the then Minister for Planning and Development in January 2004.
There remains a significant portion of the community who do not wish to see development in the Bay and who are sceptical that further development of the townsite can be achieved in a sustainable manner. These and other issues are noted in the report on the community forum that appears in this newsletter.
I have no doubt that a number of issues will emerge, or be brought into sharper focus, over the coming months as the planning processes progress. However one fundamental issue on which we are very much focussed at this stage is locking in the agreement that was reached with the previous Government to transfer into the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park the balance of the Gracetown designated townsite that is not required for the development.
There are also a number of matters regarding sustainability and the allocation of appropriate infrastructure that are continuing to cause concern among the community. While some of these can be addressed in due course (e.g. the sewage treatment process and recycled water), we are working with Landcorp to try and ensure that others, such as the second access road, traffic management and community infrastructure commitments, are addressed more urgently.
We understand that the planning process from this point is roughly as follows:
• Landcorp have submitted their revised Scheme Amendment to the Environmental Protection Authority and revised supporting documents to the Shire.
• The next step is probably the release of a conditional approval by the EPA with potentially (as in the Smith’s Beach case) a map showing where the EPA supports development.
• The Scheme Amendment will then be published by the Shire for public comment, and the public will have a short period (6 weeks) to comment on the Scheme Amendment.
• The Shire can then approve the Scheme Amendment; zoning and committing the area for residential development.
• We expect Landcorp will remain reluctant to make formal commitments or address impacts until after the Scheme Amendment is approved, allowing them to develop.
There are several key issues outlined below that we believe need to be considered by the community over the next few months. The contact details of the GPA Development Sub-committee members are on the community consultation forum report. Please give these items some thought and contact any of us, or any GPA Committee member, with your views and ideas.
1. The reluctance by Landcorp to address traffic management (around town and the second road options) through a consultative planning workshop and what do about it.
2. Negotiating the specific commitments we would like to see made to improvements around the Bay so that Landcorp fulfils their commitment to ensure the development is a sustainability showcase. Many of these issues are detailed in an Initiatives Plan and in a Key Performance Indicator framework that have been developed in conjunction with Landcorp, however no firm commitments have been made other than the remainder of the land going to National Park.
3. The desirability of a bulk connection of most, if not all, of the existing houses to the recycled water system at the time of putting in the trenches for the sewage system, leading to reduced impacts and costs. Should we push for underground power at the same time?
4. How can we keep the community informed and assist it through the process of when the Scheme Amendment and then the Structure Plan get approved, and then when the first bulldozers roll into town? Obviously with such emotive issues there is ample opportunity for conflict and long term damage to relationships within the community. Ongoing conflict combined with the physical commencement of the development could destroy much of what makes the Bay special for people. We are concerned that the length, complexity and abstractness of the planning process makes it easier for people to avoid thinking about it, but that it will become very real when the development actually starts (long after the approvals have been given).
Following are some key development related events so far in 2009:
January - GPA and community meeting on 3 January regarding the tourist development proposed by Landcorp. Following this meeting letters were sent by the GPA to Brendan Grylls and Troy Buswell, and the GPA met with Barry House to enlist his support in pressing for the withdrawal of the tourist development proposal.
February – Landcorp withdraws its tourist development proposal following feedback from the community, politicians, the Shire and Tourism WA. The appeal by the GPA (lodged in December 2007) against the Environmental Protection Authority’s Environmental Review Instructions relating to Landcorp’s proposed residential development is determined by the Minister for Environment, with key aspects of the GPA’s appeal being upheld. The result is that Landcorp’s environmental review in relation to the proposed residential development must take a holistic approach in assessing the potential impacts of the development on the Bay and the management of those impacts on the whole Bay environment.
March – Community rally on 1 March against the tourist development proposal, focussing on the proposal in the Shire’s draft Local Planning Scheme to designate an area of land west of Salter Street for possible tourist development. GPA Development Sub-committee meeting with Landcorp on 31 March for an update on the residential development.
April – Community Consultation Forum on Landcorp’s proposed residential development on 10 April, followed by the GPA’s AGM. A report on the forum is included in this newsletter.
May – Letters sent to all Shire Councillors requesting the withdrawal from the Shire’s draft Local Planning Scheme of the area west of Salter Street designated for possible tourist development. At the Shire Council meeting on 4 June the designated area was removed from the Local Planning Scheme.
July – GPA Development Sub-committee meeting with Landcorp on 3 July for an update on the residential development. Landcorp advised that its Environmental Review had been lodged with the EPA in June, and that the timing of the Shire advertising Town Planning Scheme Amendment 175 (relating to the proposed residential development) was dependant on the timing of EPA approval. The advertising is not expected to begin until at least mid September 2009. In the meantime, Landcorp is working on information sheets related to various aspects of the proposed development and community information sessions to be held in Gracetown and Perth during the period when the Scheme Amendment is released by the Shire for public comment.
August - Letter sent to Landcorp reiterating the basis for the community’s participation in the planning processes for Landcorp’s proposed residential development.
It is important that everyone understands that the proposed residential development is entering a critical phase. When the Scheme Amendment is released by the Shire for public comment there will be only a limited period in which the community can review, digest and comment on aspects of the proposed development. The GPA will do its best to assist in this process, through disseminating information and coordinating with Landcorp and the Shire, but it is incumbent on everyone who is interested in the proposed development to inform themselves, and form their own views, about the development.
Our experience with the tourist development proposal has demonstrated that the community has a strong voice and can have a significant impact.
Gracetown Progress Association Inc.
26 August 2009
Report on GPA Community Consultation Forum
held 10 April 2009
The Forum was attended by over 20 members of the Gracetown community, representing a range of views regarding the residential development proposed by Landcorp.
A range of issues for discussion were listed on white boards, with Landcorp maps, details about the planning stages and PR materials provided for people to consider. The meeting comprised a mix of small groups of people having ad hoc discussions and an open forum discussion.
While the duration of involvement in community discussions, the degree to which people were on top of the details, and the position of people on various topics varied widely, a number of core concerns and issues were raised, including the following:
• Impact on the bay of other residential developments in the Cowaramup area
• Whether the proposed development is the end; will there be more in future?
• Small beach not able to accommodate significant additional people
• Building regulation and control of public open space
• Fire management
• Water availability
• Cost of sewerage and recycled water
• Sustainability of the proposed development and impact on bay and environment
• Second access road and traffic management – a key issue for many
• Impact on Aboriginal heritage at various sites around the Bay
• Disruption during infrastructure development and housing construction periods
• No hard commitments to manage the impact of doubling the size of the town had been made by Landcorp
The predominant feeling was that there are a lot of outstanding unaddressed impacts and that people do not want the Landcorp development in the Bay. People who wish to continue to lobby against the proposed development are encouraged to continue those efforts. However it was generally also recognised that the proposed development would be difficult to stop and that, if the issues currently being discussed with Landcorp could be resolved satisfactorily, the proposed development could represent a reasonable compromise position for the community. Comments reflecting this view included:
• We have stopped the tourist development, but it would be more difficult to stop the proposed residential development
• A concerted “No” campaign would be difficult to sustain given the limited resources of the Gracetown community
• If the proposed development is stopped, important agreements, such as the transfer of the remaining townsite to National Park, could be lost and a new developer could start the process all over again
• The proposed development represents a reasonable compromise
• We need to reiterate to Landcorp and the government the basis of the community’s engagement in the development process, including the transfer of the balance of the designated townsite to National Park, no tourist development, reforming the Gracetown Development Investigation Reference Group, sustainability issues, etc
There was a fair amount of discussion about how we should proceed to negotiate with Landcorp to minimise the impact of any development. There was a range of views in the community on the tactics and ethics of negotiating trade offs, as well as what was, or wasn’t, negotiable, and also differing views about the priority of particular issues against others.
None of the concerns expressed or issues raised were entirely new. Most of the concerns and issues raised are being discussed with Landcorp by the GPA Development Sub-committee.
Please contact any member of the GPA Development Sub-committee if you have any thoughts on the proposed Landcorp development, or the above issues.
GPA Development Sub-committee
David Martin email@example.com 0407 982122
Bruce Macaulay firstname.lastname@example.org 97555541
John James email@example.com 97555454
Steve McKinney firstname.lastname@example.org 93833213
08 97 555551
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Check the website for all of the GPA and bay news, become a member and contribute your photos, concerns and stories.
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Phone: 97555934 Mob: 04274449554 Email email@example.com
Peter Spence Building Integrity
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Phone: 97555934 Mob: 04274449554 email firstname.lastname@example.org
ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE REPORT
A great display board for all of our pamphlets is now set up at the shop.
Jenny has packaged Enchylaena seed which is now also displayed for people to plant in their gardens.
The GPA has funded the purchase of more tools for our planting days : 2x mattocks, 2x spades and 6x buckets.
Jan, Bruce and Jenny coordinated another Community Planting Day on Saturday 11 July finishing off the site opposite the shop. 200 plants were planted. Heather provided a batch of home baked muffins. We've had the extra cost of typhoon fert tabs, 500 bags and stakes this year. The GPA has funded the cost of stakes, bags and fertilizer.
So far planting has been done at South Point, Huzza Carpark and Brook west, and 1/2 the site opposite the shop. CCG volunteers helped with planting Huzzas and Brook west. Cowaramup Primary school kids have taken on the Melaleuca Picnic Site as their area to care for and a planting day was held on 3 August.
Cape to Cape Track/Big Rock is still to be pruned, if any one has the time to do a bit it would be great.
Leeuwin-Naturaliste Capes Area Parks and Reserves
The preliminary draft management plan for Parks of the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge, Scott National Park and Gingilup Swamps Nature Reserve has been finalised. The plan will soon be forwarded to the Minister for Environment requesting it be released for public comment.
After its release, the draft management plan will be forwarded to key stakeholders and made available online: www.dec.wa.gov.au/landmanagementplanning
or forwarded by mail upon request. (from The Planning Diary , Dept Env and Conservation), Contact: Paul McCluskey Email: Paul.McCluskey@dec.wa.gov.au Phone: (08) 9334 059
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*******GPA SUBSCRIPTIONS DUE *******
A reminder that Gracetown Progress Association Membership Subscriptions are now due for 2009/10. The due date for the GPA yearly subscriptions is April 1st.
There are a significant number of previous members who have not renewed their subscriptions.
At the 2009 Annual General Meeting, the membership eligibility was widened to include some people who were not previously able to join.
If your details have changed or you wish to pay your subscription, please use the form on the following page.
Please contact the Treasurer of the GPA at firstname.lastname@example.org to check if your membership is up to date.
If it is possible to supply an email address, it greatly helps with sending information.
Gracetown Progress Association Inc.
Membership Application and Update Form
Membership eligibility - please mark one of the categories below
A Tenant residing for more than 6 months within 5 km of Gracetown
B Owner or Ratepayer of property within 5 km of Gracetown
C Immediate family member of a or b above
D Nominee of company or trust that is owner or ratepayer in b above
E Member formerly eligible under a, b or c above who wishes to maintain membership
D Nominated by Committee
Note: all members must be 18 years and over
Postal Address: __________________________________________
Residential Address: _______________________________________
Gracetown Address: ________________________________________
Telephone Home: ___________________________________
(Email addresses will greatly help in forwarding information)
Status Last Expired: _______________________
* If you are a current member, please check your details, and return this form, either by mail, email or drop to Bay Store, Gracetown.
Please enclose your payment for Membership, $22.00 per person, either by:
• Cash (to the Bay Store with relevant info)
• Cheque made out to Gracetown Progress Association, PO Box 356, Cowaramup W.A. 6284
• Direct transfer to: Bank Name: Bankwest Margaret River
Account name: GPA General Account
Branch Code/BSB BSB: 306-021
Acc’t Number: 416 622-2
Reference: Your Name/s – “GPA Membership Fees”
If paying electronically, please ensure you forward the above information as well to the GPA Treasurer at Box 379 Cowaramup WA 6284.
If you have any queries regarding membership status, would like an e-form or to forward membership renewal or contact information updates please contact David Burges, GPA Treasurer at email@example.com or post to PO Box 379 Cowaramup, W.A. 6284.