Sand dunes saved

Councillor Chris Elliott in the dunes at Singleton. Picture: Elle Borgward   d436582
Councillor Chris Elliott in the dunes at Singleton. Picture: Elle Borgward d436582

SAND dunes to the east of Golden Bay and Singleton appear to be safe from development in the foreseeable future.

The City of Rockingham had proposed amending its planning policies so councillors would not have a say on variations to building envelopes.

Instead, the decision would be made by City officers.

The proposal was recommended for approval at March’s planning and engineering services committee, but rejected at the council meeting.

Coastal ward Councillor Chris Elliott said he was disappointed at the City trying to remove delegated authority at the meeting and was particularly concerned for the sand dunes in Singleton and Golden Bay.

It is not the first time the issue has arisen. In 2003, the policy was changed to remove protection of the views from the west of the hills and referral to councillors for any decision.

It was these changes that prompted a then-retired Cr Elliott to run for council again.

“This house appeared on top of the hill (on Pescatore Place) and my wife said ‘look at that’ and I said it was against council policy to build there, but I later discovered that the policy had changed,” he said.

“I had a fair bit to say about it at public meetings and became so annoyed about it that I decided to run for council again to get protections to views to the west and delegated authority reinstated.

“I stood on four policies when campaigning for election and one was the policy protecting the dunes.”

Shortly after he was elected in October, 2011, the policy was changed to what it had been before 2003.

“I’ve lived here for a long time and I know the community really well and know absolutely how important those hills are to the character of the place,” Cr Elliott said.

“They offer a superb backdrop to Golden Bay and Singleton; we have a row of sand dunes along the coast and also to the east along Mandurah Road and the worst thing we could do would to have them peppered with houses.”

The amendment to reinstate delegated authority to councillors and protection of the views will soon be advertised for public comment.

Cr Elliott said he was confident the local communities would be happy with the protection to the dunes.

“I have absolute confidence that people from the local community will think the policy to protect the views is great, and I am so appreciative of the support of fellow councillors,” he said.

“I am committed to keeping views so character of place is retained.”