Developer withdraws application to clear Scarborough dunes

Opponents to the dune clearing permit at the front of the Beach Shack site in January. Photo: Martin Kennealey. d490104
Opponents to the dune clearing permit at the front of the Beach Shack site in January. Photo: Martin Kennealey. d490104

COMMUNITY concern over potential clearing of dunes in Scarborough has resulted in the application being withdrawn.

Norup + Wilson applied to the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation in December for permission to clear an 1160sq m section of native vegetation from dunes next to its Beach Shack apartments being built on West Coast Highway.

The developer wanted to clear, level and revegetate the area to accommodate a firebreak and meet a Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority (MRA) approval condition but community groups objected to the proposal, including Beach Not Bitumen, which formed four years ago to protect the dunes from former plans to extend The Esplanade.

Director Dave Wilson said after Norup + Wilson met with community groups and relevant authorities it became apparent the permit was no longer required.

“We are currently jointly investigating an alternative solution which will result is the least possible impact to the dune area,” he said.

“We are confident that the final solution will be resolved soon which will hopefully be to the satisfaction of all parties involved.”

Since the permit application, the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage (DPLH) has rezoned 3.3ha of the dunes, encompassing the subject site, to become part of the adjacent South Trigg Class A Reserve and it is now public open space for the purpose of conservation of dunes and recreation.

Beach Not Bitumen spokeswoman Robyn Murphy said the group welcomed withdrawal of the application but criticised the City of Stirling for not doing more to protect the site nor consulting with the community.

“An enormous amount of time and resources has gone into processing an application that should never have been made in the first place,” she said.

“We now look forward to action on the part of the City to permanently protect and rehabilitate this area.

“The local residents, by joining with the Friends groups have demonstrated that they appreciate the natural dune system and wish it to be retained and protected into the future.”

City parks and sustainability manager Ian Hunter said following the DPLH process the land would be managed as a conservation reserve.

He said the City was liaising with the developer, State agencies and conservation groups to developer a plan for the reserve that retained existing endemic plant species, removed weeds, provided a firebreak along the boundary for emergency access and gave pedestrian access to the beach, prevented private vehicle access and recognised the “valid development approval issued to the Beach Shack” by the MRA.

“The City will continue to work with the parties to find the optimum plan,” Mr Hunter said.