The Environmental Protection Authority has recommended Landcorp’s Ocean Reef Marina proposal is environmentally acceptable and could proceed with strict conditions.
In its report released today, the EPA recommended nine conditions, including:
• Further investigations and management plan carried out to minimise impact to nearby beaches.
• Requirements for monitoring and management plans to ensure the proposal will avoid or minimise impacts to water quality and marine habitats outside the marina; and
• Offsetting the residual impacts to the marine environment by requiring the proponent to implement actions to improve the health of reef habitats in the Marmion Marine Park.
In making the recommendations EPA chairman Tom Hatton said the proposal represented challenges for the local marine environment, however these could be adequately managed.
“Central to the EPA’s assessment were the environmental values of the Marmion Marine Park, particularly the loss of sensitive reef habitats that support diverse marine life and abalone,” Dr Hatton said.
“We found if the Ocean Reef Marina was implemented with proper management and monitoring plans in place, the environmental values of the marine park could be protected and there would be no adverse impacts on the water quality outside the marina.”
Lands Minister Ben Wyatt said a broad group of stakeholders was working with LandCorp to develop a business plan to help inform redevelopment opportunities for onsite clubs and emergency services.
“This project should see around 900 jobs created for the local area and any project of this scale needs to get the planning right but we can see that we are getting closer,” he said.
Joondalup Mayor Albert Jacob and Joondalup MLA Emily Hamilton welcomed the EPA decision.
“There is overwhelming support for this exciting and visionary project in our community, as well as across the northern corridor and outside the region,” Mr Jacob said.
“Of 11,728 public responses to a community survey in 2009, 94 per cent of respondents said they wanted the marina development to go ahead. 95.6 per cent supported the concept plan at the time.”
Ms Hamilton said local residents were looking forward to construction of the marina starting late next year.
“It will not only be a place that the community will be able to enjoy our pristine WA coastline, it will be a place to spend time with family and friends and will also become a tourism destination in the northern corridor,” she said.
Landcorp proposes to redevelop and expand the existing facilities, including:
• Two new breakwaters.
• Dredging of sand and rock.
• The construction of jetties to support piled boat mooring pens.
• Piling works for about 750 new boat pens.
The EPA’s report to the Environment Minister is now open for a two-week public appeal period, closing March 11. Appeals can be made at appealsconvenor.wa.gov.au
Given the broader implications of the proposal on the boundary and management of the Marmion Marine Park and also recreational abalone fishers, the EPA decided to provide advice to the Minister about Government agencies working together to address the matters.
The Environment Minister will make the final decision.
The EPA report is available here.