‘What the State has done has lined itself up to buy up to hundreds of millions of dollars worth of land in the future, and that will lead to a degrading of the cliff’s scarp by a footpath or a proposed boardwalk,’ town planners TPG managing director David Caddy said.
TPG organised eight of the 46 resident and landowners comments received by Planning Minister John Day before he moved a parks and recreation reserve from the Swan River high water line to the top of the cliff, encroaching on gardens and encompassing two parks, on May 28.
Mr Caddy said classing the change as a minor amendment to the scheme denied residents a public hearing where they could have put their arguments to the department.
Christ Church Grammar School, Methodist Ladies’ College, Claremont Council and Bethesda Hospital were among 22 respondents with objections to the amendment.
Businessman and Cliff Way resident John Poynton is seeking legal advice after he lost foreshore access down the cliff his family has owned since the 1920s.
‘It’s a land grab without any compensation, but I don’t want (money), I want free access to the foreshore,’ Mr Poynton said.
Other cliff-top residents are unconvinced of the department’s claim that the amendment will protect the cliff, after no apparent money was set aside for weeding or rock-fall prevention.
‘There’s a section of the cliff at the end of Osborne Parade owned by the Swan River Trust that’s not even looked after or maintained now,’ Richardson Avenue resident Claire Brittain said.
In 2010, Claremont Council withdrew from a Shire of Peppermint Grove feasibility study into a boardwalk proposal which, at the time, Premier Colin Barnett said could be ‘prohibitively expensive’ after floating pontoons for sections of the route were mooted. Planning Minister John Day did not respond to questions before deadline.