A SURVEY of Brand’s federal candidates by environmental protection group Hands Off Point Peron (HOPP) has created a buzz on social media with followers left confused by some of the answers given.
Greens candidate and HOPP spokeswoman Dawn Jecks was joined by Labor candidate Madeleine King and Liberal candidate Craig Buchanan in answering the questions, which included whether or not they supported the Mangles Bay Marina or a proposed Coastal Park.
Mr Buchanan bucked the party line, saying he would support the Coastal Park Concept Plan over Mangles Bay Marina.
“I have stated publicly on a number of occasions I believe the Cape Peron Coastal Park Concept Plan has merit and would serve as a prominent tourist attraction for Brand,” he said.
“I am supportive of a marina-based tourist precinct in the Rockingham area, and acknowledge that such a development would principally be a matter for Rockingham City Council and the State Government.
“That being said, I am on record as opposing any such marina and its associated housing being built at Pt Peron, where I would much prefer to see the establishment of a Class A reserve.”
However, the Facebook post on HOPP’s page proclaimed it needed to engage a lawyer to “derive” Ms King’s position, after she gave responses that appeared to not directly address the question.
The lawyer concluded Ms King supported the Mangles Bay Marina but did not support the Coastal Park Concept Plan.
HOPP included her responses to the questions in the comments section, a step they said was in aid of “transparency” on the issue.
When asked if she supported the Coastal Park, Ms King responded she commended the efforts of those responsible.
“The proposal looks attractive and I commend the efforts of those who have clearly put in a lot of effort to develop the concept,” she said.
“I would be happy to look at the proposal in more detail, and I am interested in discussing the potential funding sources the proponents have investigated to support the creation and ongoing maintenance of the proposed park.
“I am not an environmental science expert and I am also not an expert in urban design and planning, however my initial thoughts on this subject are that a marina development and a coastal park are not necessarily mutually exclusive.”
She also could not be swayed to take a definitive position on the marina, saying she would only support one if the wider community wanted it.
“The only development of Pt Peron and Mangles Bay that I agree with is a development which serves the community, and meets environmental safeguards,” she said.
“I believe that a marina will serve the community of Rockingham and surrounding areas, and will bring ongoing benefits to many.
“I will not support a private housing development in this area without the community amenity that comes with a marina, and then only if the strict environmental safeguards, which the environmental regulators have put in place, are strictly adhered to.”
Ms King came in for criticism from both Mr Buchanan and Ms Jecks regarding her position, with Mr Buchanan saying she needed to make her position clear.
“This is an emotive local issue, and I would have hoped to have seen a stronger response from Labor,” he said.
“The Labor Candidate for Brand needs to come out and clearly state what her position is on the development. Does she want to destroy the local environment or not?”
Ms Jecks said she was disappointed Ms King did not follow the lead of her predecessor Gary Gray.
“The sitting member for Brand Gary Gray has been consistent in his position, which is that he does not support the development,” she said.
“It is disappointing that the Federal Labor candidate is choosing to follow the WA Labor position under Mark McGowan which is to support a marina at this location.”
Speaking to the Courier, Ms King said she felt misrepresented in the Facebook post.
“I spent my childhood in Shoalwater Bay and Pt Peron, I have a great love and ongoing concern for the area,” she said.
“It means too much to too many people to discuss it in simplistic terms.
“Any development of Pt Peron is complex and I believe it needs to be treated as such… one word answers were not requested nor was there any request for me to do so once I had supplied my answers.”
Ms King said she had spoken to a great deal of stakeholders concerning the project and had tried to organise a meeting with Ms Jecks twice before the Facebook post was uploaded but received no response.