Nationals WA Member of Parliament Paul Brown MP, has added his voice to that of representatives of the City of Greater Geraldton (CGG) and residents alarmed by the potential development of a housing estate at the iconic Southgate sand dunes.
The planned housing estate has recently been given conditional approval by the Ministers for Planning and Environment which has led to a large #SaveSouthgates social media campaign opposing the development. The dire financial implications of the development are also a concern for the ratepayers of the CGG.
Mr Brown said “I share the concerns that the community have about the potential destruction of the iconic Southgate sand dunes area. The dunes are the first landmark that greet people to Geraldton travelling north and have long been considered a part of the fabric of environmental wonders that make Geraldton the fantastic place it is today.”
“The environmental impact of removal of this sand dune system is not fully understood, with a number of environmental reports over the last decade highlighting the important role that the sand dunes play in replenishing the beaches to the north.”
The expansion and deepening of the Geraldton Port in 2004 has led to considerable erosion problems along the Beresford Foreshore area and cause large amounts of sand to be accumulated behind the Geraldton Port at Pages Beach. Approx. 11,000 metric tonnes of beach sand is physically removed and bypassed from Pages Beach to the Beresford Foreshore annually.
Mr Brown said “Geraldton is already suffering from the impacts of a number of poorly understood environmental outcomes from coastal development that has seen serious erosion along our City’s coastline.”
“Why would anyone think that it is appropriate for a housing development to go ahead on that section of our coast when everyone from the Environmental Protection Agency to coastal planning academics have warned of the potential environmental catastrophe if the Southgate sand dunes are partially or completely flattened?”
Mr Brown confirmed that he will take a community petition to Parliament so that the Environment and Public Affairs Committee in the Legislative Council can consider an enquiry into the implications of the development.