Golden Bay: community makes stand to protect last sand dunes from development

Protesters at Golden Bay.
Bree Zikmundovsky and Daz Thompson.
Golden Bay protesters.
Photo by Jake Beazley
Protesters at Golden Bay. Bree Zikmundovsky and Daz Thompson. Golden Bay protesters. Photo by Jake Beazley

A TWENTY-FIVE year protest to save the remaining parabolic sand dunes in Golden Bay culminated this week with residents taking a final stand against the developer’s dozers.

Golden Bay resident Adam Bell said he had gathered the community together to take one last ditch stand against a new housing development that was approved in 1994 by the WA Planning Commission (WAPC).

Since that time residents have launched protests but it was not until the final days of the former state government that the development was approved.

After seeing the bulldozers move in on Friday, August 18, Mr Bell rallied family, friends and the community to protest at the site on Monday morning.

“We just need to stop the machines. All the flora and fauna will be fully wiped out,” he said

“I have been trying to organise an emergency halt to the clearing.

“I have been in talks with Paul Papalia and Stephen Dawson about to do this.

“Since the initial talks they have not contacted me – I have been calling everyday.”

He organised a protest for Monday morning.

A small but vocal group gathered and took up various positions on the dune and refused to move, causing the bulldozers to stop work.

One resident at the protest, Bree Zikmundovsky, said the dozers moved in last Friday.

“I could not believe it. This is the last remaining dune in the area, there is unique wildlife and flora here,” she said.

“Where will they go? There is no-where for these animals to go.

“I was driving past about Friday lunchtime and I saw it. I had to do something so I just went and sat on the hill and invited others to come join me.

“It did stop the dozers for a bit so it was a small victory.

“I live near the edge of these dunes, raised all my kids here and until the dozers moved in I have not seen anyone here doing any wildlife relocation work.”

Within a few days word spread and more residents have been visiting the site and protesting.

Mr Bell also began an online petition to be presented to the developers through change.org.

In a few days the petition had grown to more than 4000 signatures.

Warnbro MLA Paul Papalia said the WAPC gave conditional approval of stage 5a on June 14, 2017.

“The developer is required to make suitable arrangements for the relocation of flora and fauna in accordance with the requirements of the Ministerial Statement, and the subdivision and bulk earthworks approvals,” he said.

“I understand the concerns around the dramatic physical change of the appearance of the development site, however the Golden Bay structure plan was approved by the previous Barnett government”.

Peet Limited Managing Director Brendan Gore said the estate would deliver 2200 homes for 5000 or more residents.

“The development of Stage 5 at Golden Bay is being undertaken in accordance with all state and local government environmental approvals,” he said.

“The Golden Bay Comprehensive Development Plan seeks to maximise and preserve as much as possible of the dunal topography of the Stage 5 site.

“Included in the plan is a Landscape Protection Area, a clearly defined area of vegetation and a significant dune landform in Lot 3, Stage 5, which are to be retained and protected.”

Earthworks are currently taking place on Lot 3 of the Stage 5 area.

A Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage spokesperson said the Golden Bay Structure Plan was approved by the WAPC in 1994 and has since been modified and updated.

“The WAPC granted conditional subdivision approval for Stage 5A of the structure plan on 14 June 2017,” he said.

“The structure plan takes into account the topographical features of the site, including the parabolic dunes.

“Since initial approval, numerous environmental matters have been assessed by both Government and the developer, in accordance with EPA Ministerial Statement 297.

“The developer is required to make suitable arrangements for the relocation of flora and fauna in accordance with the requirements of the Ministerial Statement, and the subdivision and bulk earthworks approvals.

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