MRA ignores valid community concerns

The Planning Minister adopted the final Master Plan for Scarborough Beach on 14 September 2015 and also announced that major foreshore works will start in April 2016. The Friends of Trigg Beach was advised by letter from the MRA that it had identified some issues from the public submissions which it had addressed in a Q&A document.

We were also advised that our objections to the Esplanade extensions had been noted and that the proposed road extensions will be further analysed and designed as “…part of the next stage of the planning process, including …potential road alignments, treatments and landscaping.” We were told that there will be further consultation with stakeholders and relevant approvals will need to be obtained.

If this was meant to placate us it has failed miserably. The Q&A re-writes history when it states that the northern Esplanade extension will only affect land that is currently a dedicated road reserve. Those of us who have been involved in protecting the South Trigg Beach Reserve for many years will remember that in May 2012 the City of Stirling decided to amalgamate the road reserve into the South Trigg Beach Class A Reserve 46248 in recognition of its environmental significance. We know that this amalgamation gained the approval of the Council, the Department of Planning, the Water Corp, Verve Electricity and was with the State Land Services for final plans to be prepared. Then in January 2015 the MRA Master Plan was revealed, effectively reversing the amalgamation decision in order to construct a new road and intersection with West Coast Highway, north and south of the 100ha Scarborough Beach project site. This reversal occurred without any public consultation.

Additionally, the Q&A falsely claims the affected area is of low conservation value and largely degraded. There is no reference given to support this claim. No environmental impact study has been carried out on this area by the MRA. The MRA acknowledges that the road extensions “may impact” the boundaries of Bush Forever sites, but then minimises this impact by calling the area degraded. Have a look at the maps – see ‘Maps’ tab above. The purple boundary is the Bush Forever 308 area. Visit the site and make up your own mind on the impact of a road and road intersection during and after construction on the dunes and vegetation.

All the language in the Q&A points to a foregone conclusion. We believe that the MRA intends to proceed with the Esplanade road extensions unless there is widespread community opposition. We will not tolerate the chipping away at the edges of this precious and valuable 10ha coastal dune reserve which deserves greater respect than it has received in recent years from the City of Stirling and now the State Government.

We have started the ball rolling by contacting the media, a story should appear shortly in the Stirling Times. We are also writing to each of the candidates for the Coastal Ward to ask for their support in protecting the coastal dunes. We will be making further submissions to the MRA and seeking the support of local conservation groups. The Stirling Natural Environment Coastcare has been working on rehabilitation in the South Trigg Beach Reserve and the reserve is an integral part of the Trigg Bushland Reserve sharing the same Bush Forever reference, the Friends of Trigg Bushland are central to the campaign to protect the reserve from further fragmentation.

What can you do? Contact us if you wish to become more actively involved; talk to your neighbours and friends and ask them to visit the site to form their own opinion; become a Supporter of the Friends of Trigg Beach; write to the MRA expressing opposition to the Esplanade extension; like our Facebook page; subscribe to this website blog; and keep in touch!

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