Comment on MRA Scarborough Draft Master Plan January 2015
The Friends of Trigg Beach do not support the extension of The Esplanade north into the South Trigg Beach Reserve Bush Forever Area 308, on environmental grounds.
The Friends of Trigg Beach has been formed with the objective of protecting the natural environment of Trigg Beach and the integrity of the Bush Forever Area 308.
In 2001, State Parliament reclassified the South Trigg Beach Reserve from a Class C Reserve to a Class A Reserve in recognition of the environmental importance and regional significance of these remnant Quindalup dunes. At the time assurances were given to the Friends of Trigg Bushland that the reclassification would be followed by the closure of the 2.8 ha Esplanade road reserve and its amalgamation into the South Trigg Beach Reserve.
Following a public consultation by the City of Stirling which resulted in the majority of submissions supporting the road closure, the Council resolved on 1 May 2012 that The Esplanade road reserve north of Reserve Street Scarborough should be closed, subject to obtaining consent from the Department of Planning. Once this consent was obtained, Council resolved to amalgamate the land with the South Trigg Beach Reserve 46248.
The Council gave the following as its reasons for requiring full closure of the road reserve:
• To maintain an ecological link into adjoining “A” Class Reservation;
• Existing flora and fauna have a continuous relationship with the current dune structure;
• Existing entry and egress points along West Coast Highway and Reserve St cater for any future development.
• A “No Road” decision would bring this location into conformity with the southern end of the Esplanade (no road).
(Ref: Letter to Stop the Boardwalk Action Group dated 15 May 2012 – Attachment A)
Telephone contact was made by Robyn Murphy with the City of Stirling on 3 May 2013 to check on the progress of the amalgamation. She was advised that the road closure and amalgamation with Reserve 46248 had “…gone through the Department of Planning and consent had been gained…” and was further advised that the closure was with the State Land Services, a process that “can take months”. Furthermore, she was advised that the City had done a preliminary survey which had been lodged with Landgate, and that Verve and the Water Corporation had advertised the road closure and no objections had been received by either authority.
On 17 July 2014, Robyn Murphy again contacted the City and was advised that the road closure and amalgamation was still “…going through the process” and that everything was on track for the final plans to be lodged with State Lands.
Comments on the Scarborough Draft Master Plan January 2015
6.2 Master Plan – point 11. Extension to The Esplanade north and south to connect West Coast Highway to create a coherent foreshore boulevard, with improved vehicle access and extended on-street parking areas, and
7.2.3 Esplanade Extensions
Comment: The MRA proposal to build on this road reserve ignores the public consultation held by the City of Stirling in 2012, and the Council’s decision on 1 May 2012, to close the road reserve and to amalgamate the land with Reserve No 46248, which is a Class A Reserve. It also underestimates the environmental damage that will be caused to the existing sand dunes and the flora and fauna by the construction of a road and car parks.
This Bush Forever area is subject to State Planning Policy 2-8 which recognises regionally significant bushland protection and its management as a primary purpose and a fundamental planning consideration in its own right as part of an area’s essential environmental infrastructure. Vehicle access and an extension of parking would have an irreversible detrimental impact on this section of the South Trigg Beach Reserve Bush Forever Area 308.
The construction of a road and car parking through the corner of this reserve will involve clearing of dune vegetation and significant movement of sand creating potential for erosion and damage within the dune system. The resultant increase in traffic and pedestrian movement in this fragile dune system would cause fragmentation (the “edge effect”), damage and disturbance to landforms, flora and fauna.
Although the land closest to the residences is degraded, it was always the intention that once the road closure was completed and amalgamated into the Class A Reserve, the area could be rehabilitated. Community conservation groups such as the Friends of Trigg Bushland (this dune reserve is part of the Trigg Bushland), Stirling Natural Areas Coastcare and Friends of Trigg Beach, have already worked with the City of Stirling to rehabilitate the South Trigg Beach Reserve, and this would be a natural extension of its work.
The sand dunes on the ocean side of the existing dual path are in good condition and support vegetation which forms a succession that extends north along the coast to the main Trigg Beach and to the east of West Coast Highway through the Trigg Bushland Reserve.
This area was studied by Dr Judy Fisher Ecologist who wrote a report “Native and Weed Mapping, Management and Restoration of the City of Stirling Coastal Zone 2011-2013” an extract of which is attached to this submission. (Attachment B). In this extract Dr Fisher comments on the deleterious effects of disturbance on the dune vegetation: “…digging and disturbance of the soil will stimulate weed seeds within the soil to germinate and …grow very rapidly.” She recommends that the whole of the South Trigg Beach Reserve should “…become a high priority for immediate protection, management and investment, to ensure ongoing connectivity across this landscape…”
7.6 Ecology and Environment
Comment: The MRA draft report quotes the Environmental Protection Act clearing of native vegetation provisions which have offset provisions for the loss of cleared vegetation and the alternative of a monetary contribution to a fund.
It also quotes mitigation measures that can be incorporated in the design of a project.
These measures do not compensate for the loss of native vegetation, landform and animal habitat that clearing for the proposed road would involve.
To add insult to injury the draft report incorrectly states that the Quindalup dunes adjoining the existing pathways are in poor condition. The condition of the dunes is directly related to the clearing that occurred to build West Coast Highway and the dual path that runs from the Esplanade north to the highway. No effort has been made to rehabilitate this area and unsurprisingly, weed invasion has occurred. This is a common consequence of road and path construction along the coast and is likely to be the outcome of any new road built on these dunes.
The dunes on the road reserve contain some of the most densely vegetated dunes between the West Coast Highway and the ocean. The dunes are very steep and irregular as a result of multiple geological forces, and cover only a small area. There is little weed incursion in the deep dunes west of the pedestrian path. This area will be irreparably damaged during the construction of a road.
It does not make sense to claim offsets to intact native vegetation, these environments and habitats cannot be replicated. That is why they are included in Bush Forever and are regionally and locally significant. Neither is any monetary contribution able to compensate for the loss of pristine original vegetation, landforms and habitats.
Friends of Trigg Beach
25 February 2015