Thursday, 26 June 2008
Canning Electorate: Shire of Waroona
I again raise in this place the issue of the redevelopment of the Preston Beach Caravan Park in my electorate. I do so because recent events are such that the Shire of Waroona has written to Mrs Hilary Wheater, the chairman of the Friends of Ramsar Action Group for the Yalgorup Lakes Environment—which has the acronym FRAGYLE—to allege that the information that they were seeking clarification of was erroneous. Because the council said the information was erroneous, I feel responsible in that I must help correct this information because I passed some of this information on to that group.
I have been concerned about this development and its probity for some time, and I have raised this before. This is the redevelopment of a community caravan park which was sold for just over $2 million. It intends to make well over $40 million, which I do not have a problem with, but the fact is that they get a walk-up start. In fact, they get a head start on everyone else because the Preston Beach Townsite Strategy for the redevelopment of this small beachside hamlet has not even been completed. Yet this group is allowed to go ahead and be involved in a development which does not have the same probity as the future developments in this town will have. This development has been initiated and proposed by Rapley Wilkinson. As I said, 131 shacks will be built on this caravan park.
The problem is that this is an overdevelopment of the caravan park. The issues that the council raised with Mrs Wheater relate to the fact that the shire has assigned a certain proportion of council land to this project for public open space. This is where the question needs to be asked. It is purely semantics because they may not have given this land to the developers to enhance and enrich the development, but it is still council land on which the developers will build a playground, which will satisfy the public open space requirements of this particular development and add value to it. I think this use of taxpayers’ money needs to be questioned. In fact, I am assured that the public open space within the caravan park before its development was far larger than the amount assigned on the edge of the road, which I viewed recently. I make it clear that I own a property in this area, so I declare an interest.
The amount of council land being made available is not that large, but, believe it or not, the council now has built a water sump on this so-called playground area. While I was there the other day, this water sump was full of water, and this is where the children’s playground is meant to be. I find this totally bizarre because, at the end of the day, who is going to maintain this playground? Who is going to meet the cost of the playground? They say that there will be a management group in this precinct for 25 years. Further, in this document, which is the council minutes—‘Special council meeting of the Waroona Shire, Monday, 31st October 2005’—it says that this will be in perpetuity. I am writing to ask more than 20 questions of the Shire of Waroona, which I would like answers to, not only on my behalf but on behalf of the constituents and residents in the Preston Beach area and other people who want to do business in the area. For example, the people from the Satterley-Preston Beach joint venture wrote to me saying that they felt somewhat aggrieved by the lack of coordination in the development in this area. They mentioned the need for a coordinated approach to sewerage, water, gas and communications. These developers have the means to put in temporary measures like BioMAX sewerage systems near the Ramsar lakes, which are some of the oldest stromatolite areas in Western Australia. Yet the lack of sewerage could see leakage and seepage into the area.
So I will be asking questions. If the council does not answer them I will get them through freedom of information or via the public. I consider that this is an improper use of the council’s ability to advance the developers in this project ahead of anyone else, including the residents of this area. I intend to continually watch this and, if I do not get the answers I want for and on behalf of my constituents and the rest of the community, I will continue to not only pursue this but to raise these issues with, for example, the town planning people in Western Australia. (Time expired)