Point Grey Marina: Conservation Council of WA calls for environmental approval to lapse as deadline looms

Point Grey Marina: Conservation Council of WA calls for environmental approval to lapse as deadline looms

THE Conservation Council of WA (CCWA) has called on Environment Minister Stephen Dawson not to extend environmental approval for the controversial Port Grey Marina and dredging proposal in the Peel-Harvey Inlet.

The project has not started and if not “substantially implemented” the approval will expire on August 1 unless the Minister approves an extension.

CCWA has argued that the environmental quality of the estuary has declined since the assessment of the project five years ago and the project should be allowed to expire, or a fresh environmental assessment be undertaken.

CCWA ecologist Nic Dunlop said recent catastrophic black water events in the Murray River and Peel Inlet were known to have killed more than 30,000 fish and demonstrated that water and sediment quality in the system was in a parlous state.

“Canal and dredging projects like the Point Grey proposal are likely to trigger similar de-oxygenation events by mobilising anoxic sediment, recycling stored phosphorous and mobilising heavy metals,’’ Dr Dunlop said.

“CCWA’s Citizen Science research program has been investigating heavy metal contamination in the estuarine food chain.

“We are only now beginning to examine and understand possible pathways for contamination which was not identified or understood at the time the original assessment of the Point Grey proposal.

“Developments like the Point Grey proposal will add to the problems of excessive nutrients in the system causing algal blooms and formation of toxic sulphidic sediments (black ooze).

“These conditions already severely compromise the environmental quality of the Ramsar-listed Peel-Yalgorup system.”

Dr Dunlop said it was very likely environmental conditions in the eastern parts of the estuary had continued to decline since approval was granted, increasing the already ecological hazards associated with the project.

In 2012, then Environment Minister Bill Marmion gave conditional approval to the $1 billion marina project.

He imposed strict conditions on developer Port Bouvard’s plan for a 300-berth marina and a 2.5km channel in a bid to remove community concerns over the effect of the marina on the health of the estuary.

But the decision was met with dismay and protests by locals fearful for the future of the vulnerable waterway and the effect on fish and migratory birds.

In 2014, the Federal Department of the Environment gave the marina the go ahead.

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