City of Cockburn to provide input instead of campaigning for Outer Harbour

Anti-Harbour Alliance group members and protestors Eden Hill resident Tim Barlow and Port Kennedy resident Allan Nelson.
Anti-Harbour Alliance group members and protestors Eden Hill resident Tim Barlow and Port Kennedy resident Allan Nelson.

THE City of Cockburn has asked to provide input for a proposed Outer Harbour in Cockburn Sound.

Councillors supported Cr Lara Kirkwood’s amendment to the Corporate Business Plan 2016-2017 to 2019-2020 Strategic Review at last night’s council meeting .

The amendment said the City would participate in the Westport Local Government Reference Group (WLGRG) rather than campaign and advocate for the Outer Harbour as recommended by administration.

Under a separate motion, councillors agreed to advise the Taskforce that the City was willing to host a future public information session as part of the stakeholder engagement program.

Cr Kirkwood said she could not agree to participate in the campaigning of the Outer Harbour if the State Government had not yet approved the design.

During public question time, WA Maritime Union of Australia member and Hilton resident Ben Lawver asked why the council would advocate for the Outer Harbour before the Westport Taskforce completed work on the design.

Cockburn chief executive Stephen Cain said the Outer Harbour plan was advocated in 2015 and 2016 by prior councillors.

“The Outer Harbour plan would support the terminal of freight links,” he said.

Mr Lawver asked Mr Cain whether if the Westport Taskforce recommended against building the port, would council follow suit.

“The Taskforce have two further studies to complete this year in August and October and the State Government would then make a decision at that stage,” Mr Cain said.

Before the council meeting, members of the Anti-Harbour Alliance group protested outside the Cockburn Council building in opposition of the Outer Harbour.

Members of the Maritime Union of Australia and recreational fishers gathered and raised banners that read “Don’t destroy Cockburn Sound” and “Save our breeding zone”.

Eden Hill resident Tim Barlow said he felt “angry” because he believed snapper stock would be wiped out if the Outer Harbour went ahead.

“There would be loss of amenity, because the shacks over at Henderson have been there since 1993 and are under direct threat, and the beach will be reclaimed land as well,” he said.

“In terms of snapper, they will dredge the Cockburn Sound of an extra fourteen and a half metres and will remove the sub straight and bottom structure snapper need to successfully spawn and allow their eggs to have somewhere to hide.

“If they dredge it out it will be hard rock and fish will come and pick of the eggs so their will be nothing for them to survive.”