Scarborough Foreshore Redevelopment: beach groups fear ‘gagging’


Beth Kennedy, of Save Our Sand Dunes, and Robyn Murphy, of Friends of Trigg Beach. Picture: Kate Leaver
Beth Kennedy, of Save Our Sand Dunes, and Robyn Murphy, of Friends of Trigg Beach. Picture: Kate Leaver

TWO environmental groups plan to boycott a State Government community group seeking public opinion about the $78 million Scarborough Foreshore redevelopment.

Friends of Trigg Beach and Save Our Sand Dunes oppose the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority’s (MRA) plans to extend West Coast Highway through two Bush Forever sites.

Friends of Trigg Beach’s Robyn Murphy said the nine-member Scarborough Redevelopment Community Advisory Committee (SRCAG) would “gag” members from speaking out on issues about the redevelopment.

A clause in the community advisory group reference terms states members are not permitted to speak to media or post any details of the meeting on social media.

“Any public comments made must reflect personal opinion only and must not be related to SRCAG business,” the document said.

“The MRA don’t want consultation on the roads – they want endorsement and they have set up an advisory committee to get it,” Mrs Murphy said.

“The group is purely window dressing and will not have any impact on the current MRA plans to build two roads which will cut a deep swathe through protected dunes at the north and south of Scarborough Beach.”

MRA chief executive Kieran Kinsella said the MRA acknowledged the environmental value of the Scarborough beachfront and its significance for the local community.

“In response to this, the Scarborough Redevelopment Community Advisory Group has been established to provide a forum for the community to have input into the road design process,” he said.

“The group will be privy to a range of project and design documentation prior to finalisation through relevant approval processes and as such they may not reflect the final outcome. Accordingly the chair, North Metropolitan MLC Liz Behjat, will act as the sole spokesperson for the group.”

Mr Kinsella said the MRA had openly invited local representatives interested in “productive conversations” to nominate for the group by July 1.

Ms Murphy said the group had asked to see plans of the proposed roads but were being “kept in the dark”.

“We seriously question the purpose of this Community Advisory Committee when it now appears that it will be the only body that will have access to important information ,” she said.

“We have been told that the road plans will be available to the SRCAG but not to the public.”

The Stirling Times requested copies of the road extension maps but were told by an MRA spokeswoman the detailed designs were “yet to be undertaken”.

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