What about Natural Heritage?

Our comments have been submitted to the MRA, following the open period for comments on the December 2015 Draft Redevelopment Scheme, Design Guidelines and Heritage Inventory, and are reproduced below:

Our comments relate to land use within the Scarborough Redevelopment site generally and specifically the northern boundary of the site and the impact of any proposed developments on the South Trigg Beach Class A Coastal Reserve and Bush Forever Area 308.

The portion of the South Trigg Beach coastal dune reserve that is within the Scarborough Beach Redevelopment site must be protected and its importance as a conservation reserve of regional significance recognised when land use, new structures or alterations to existing structures are being considered.

We note the absence of a requirement for development proposals to take account of the natural heritage of the Scarborough Beach site. We note that the built heritage is recognised as critical to maintaining the character of Scarborough Beach and that links to its past through existing buildings and other structures are included in the MRA’s Heritage Inventory for the site.

The natural heritage of the site is equally or more important to the long term preservation of a healthy Scarborough Beach and should be included in the Heritage Inventory. We assume that it is not too late to correct this oversight. The value of the natural heritage and the adjacent significant South Trigg Beach Coastal Reserve to visitors and tourists has also been overlooked in the draft documents. Professor Paul E Hardisty has advised our group that “…studies worldwide show …beach users prefer unspoiled beach to spoiled beach…”.

This is not a revelation and WA’s natural environment is a feature of most advertising and promotional events carried out by Tourism WA.  Scarborough Beach’s natural environment, the coastal dune system and the beach is its greatest asset and should be a major consideration in any development proposal.

Although Scarborough Beach has had resort style developments over time, the MRA has a unique opportunity to protect and enhance existing natural areas, thereby make the site cater for tourists and locals alike.

The South Trigg Beach coastal reserve serves an important ‘value add’ eco-tourism function as evidenced by the Scarborough-Trigg Heritage Walk which was a Centenary of Federation project in 2001. This project was funded by the Commonwealth Government with in-kind contributions from Nyungah elders, the Friends of Trigg Bushland, Scarborough Beach Rotary Club, Jobs West and the City of Stirling. A copy of the brochure that was produced for the Heritage Walk is attached. We note this existing Heritage Walk has not been acknowledged in the MRA reports.

There is a vast potential for low-impact eco-tourism which would add a unique dimension to the ‘resort tourism’ already present in Scarborough. The pristine nature of the South Trigg Coastal Reserve and the rest of Bush Forever Site 308 coupled with a highly developed precinct like Scarborough is unknown in other parts of Perth. The natural vista and views over the coast dune system to the ocean and Trigg Beach is spectacular and presents an opportunity for visitors to Scarborough Beach to experience a sight that was once common along the metropolitan area coastline. This has the potential to add value to appropriate developments at Scarborough Beach.

We note that Development Policies include a “Conservation Management Plan” for “heritage place” there are however, no policies that we could find for a management plan for the natural environment heritage of the site.

The South Trigg Beach Reserve and other natural areas within the redevelopment site deserve inclusion in the Heritage Inventory, Development and Policies and Design Guidelines. A Conservation Management Plan must be developed including flora and fauna inventories, a requirement to use local coastal plants in new developments, and a commitment to the protection and enhancement of existing natural areas on the site.

The Vision and Scheme Objectives Chapter 2 states that the Scheme will be “…highly responsive to the site…including the natural environment, topography, neighbouring sites and streetscape…”. This is a commendable objective that needs to be more specific to the natural areas on and adjacent to the development site.

We note that in the Sustainability Outcomes that primacy is given to “public spaces”; “heritage conservation”; “reduced car use” and “environmental enhancement”. These outcomes are supported however, there is little evidence of environmental enhancement being made a priority in the MRA scheme.

2.3.6. “Environmental Integrity” states that “…protection of local ecology”, is a goal and that development should respond to the natural coastal environment of Scarborough Beach. There is a paucity of evidence of research into the impact of developments on the natural coastal environment. The impact of buildings and roads on wind direction, shade, sand movement etc is particularly important with the onset of climate change due to global warming, and the probability of changes in sea levels on the coast.

Attached is an extract from the City of Stirling’s Trigg Bushland Management Plan which includes the South Trigg Beach Reserve as Sector 6 and part of Bush Forever area 308. The maps are attached for your information.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment.

Robyn Murphy
Friends of Trigg Beach

7 February 2016

Dune photo 200px

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