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Mayor slams Minister’s plans for Southgates
City of Greater Geraldton Mayor Shane Van Styn has described the State Government’s plan to change an amendment which will result in the rezoning of Southgates Dunes for development and future urban subdivision as “nothing short of environmental terrorism”.
The proposed changes to Planning Scheme Amendment No. 4 went to council Tuesday night at the Agenda Forum after the Minister for Environment, Hon Albert Jacob, and the Minister for Planning, Hon John Day, reached agreement on the conditions to which the Amendment should be subject if it is to be implemented.
Mayor Van Styn has hit back at the proposed changes to the Amendment saying that any development on the land would destroy sand supply to other local beaches and are completely outrageous.
“We are flat out carting sand to Beresford to save our beaches (from Pages beach) and here we have a proposal that will make that problem a lot worse,” he said.
“The idea of destroying the sand supply to our northern beaches is mind blowing and it’s hard to believe that anybody could think that is in any way a good idea.”
The Amendment involves subdividing an area of around 780ha of land on Southgates Dunes.
The Local Planning Scheme Amendment in its current form poses significant risks for the City both financially and environmentally.
“The Southgates Dunes are iconic and represent Geraldton a much as our lighthouse,” Mayor Van Styn said.
“We also need to be reminded the proposed developer is the same developer that was responsible for the mess at Cape Burney,” he added.
If the motion to object the proposal is passed by Council next week, the City will immediately advise the Minister for Planning that the Council strongly objects to the implementation of Local Planning Scheme Amendment No. 4 in its current form.
“Here is yet another example, of Perth based planning bureaucracies making appalling planning decisions that are completely out of step with local sentiment and is another clear example of why local government should be the masters of their own planning,” Mayor Van Styn said.
“I call on all of our community to do all they can to protest against this outrageous proposal.”
Has there already been excessive mining at Southgates?
Many residents over the past several months have expressed their outrage to Everything Geraldton over how much sand has already been taken from Southgates. It's clear from the beach, and the road, that much of the natural and iconic dunes have been flattened.
What's not known by most locals is that conveniently the level to which the dunes have been flattened is the exact same height that the EPA have said needs to be in place when/if any sub-division occurs.
Some locals are questioning if EPA guidelines have been breached, or if too much sand has been taken already from the dunes, due to the obvious scaring that is clearly visible to all passers-by.
The mining that is taking place at Southgates is for the lime sand to be used by farmers. It is used to increase the pH levels of soil. The mining, if done at low enough levels, is sustainable, as the dunes do grow each year.
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