Will anyone take responsibility?

Letter to the Chief Executive Officer of the City of Stirling:

Re:  Proposed northern extension of the Esplanade at Scarborough Beach
 Supporters of our group attended a meeting convened by Hon Liza Harvey MLA on Wednesday 8 June 2016.  The meeting by invitation only, was held to inform local residents on the re-development of Scarborough Beach.  The meeting was addressed by the MRA and an officer from the Minister for Planning’s office also attended. An opportunity was provided for attendees to ask questions.

Of concern to us was Ms Harvey’s answer to a question about a City of Stirling Council resolution carried at a meeting on 1 May 2012 to proceed with the full closure of the Esplanade road reserve north of Reserve St Scarborough.Ms Harvey replied that “…unfortunately…the Council had not followed through on that vote”  and the road reserve had not been closed.  A number of residents were shocked to hear this as they had understood that this road closure was settled and that following Council approval, it would proceed.

Our group (previously Stop the Boardwalk) received a letter from the City dated 16 May 2012 advising that the full closure of the Esplanade road reserve would occur subject to various approvals including the Department of Planning, and that the land would be amalgamated with Class A Reserve 46248 (South Trigg Beach Reserve).  This reclassification was appropriate given the area had already been included in Bush Forever Area 308 (Trigg Bushland Reserve).

The letter advised that the Council’s reasons for full closure of the road reserve were as follows:

  • To maintain an ecological link into adjoining “A” Class Reservation.
  • Existing flora and fauna has a continuous relationship with the current dune structure
  • Existing entry and egress points along West Coast Highway and Reserve Street cater for any future development.
  • A “no road” decision would bring this location into conformity with the southern end of the Esplanade (no road).
A copy of this letter is attached for your information.
In response to telephone enquiries by me at the City on 3 May 2013 and again on 17 July 2014 Council Officer Lee Prior advised that the closure was on track and that the Department of Planning had given consent.  He said that the road closure was with State Land Services.  He said that Water Corporation and Verve Electricity had advertised the closure and that no objections had been received.  Mr Prior said that the closure could take up to three years however, he assured me that everything was “…on track” and that when State Lands come back after assessing all the agencies assessments, then the City will survey the land and final plans will be lodged for the closure and amalgamation into Reserve 46248.
 Our question to the City is why and when this process was stopped, and on whose authority given that it was a resolution of the Council?  The MRA continues to advise us that the road reserve still exists and that the closure was not completed.
Ms Harvey has advised that it was the City’s responsibility to proceed with the road closure and that it had not followed through.
We look forward to your response.
Convenor, Friends of Trigg Beach

Is this the future of our dunes?

BFS-308-Entrance-CoS-Aerial-Photo-CaddyMockUpWeb

Based on our conversations and viewing of maps with Ian Mckee (PriceWaterhouseCoopers project director for the MRA) and on similar maps forwarded to us by the City of Stirling (see new maps of revised road alignment here), it would appear that a four lane road (two traffic lanes with two parking lanes) will run through the dunes to connect the Esplanade in Scarborough with the West Coast Highway, a mockup of which is shown above.

A similar road would run through the dunes to the south.  Unfortunately, no one has any further information on the road – the MRA is refusing to give anyone information except the new Advisory Committee.

Do they think this will be good for Scarborough?  For the residents, the businesses, the beachgoers and all of us Western Australians who believe that our natural beaches are the best in the world?  They call this modern urban planning?  It is backward, old-style car-based planning – that went out in the 1980’s – and is completely unacceptable.

Politicians to join the fight

Media Release 4 July 2016

Opposition MPs Invited to Join Fight to Save Scarborough Dunes

Two key community groups opposed to the construction of major roads through the sand dunes at Scarborough Beach are reaching out to high-profile Opposition MPs in an attempt to get some transparency and clarity around what they call “unacceptable secrecy around the decision to go forward with the destruction of the dunes”.

Since the release of the Scarborough Beach Redevelopment project in 2015 the Friends of Trigg Beach and more recently Save Our Sanddunes (SOS), have been requesting copies of reports supporting the construction of the roads, which if given the go ahead will cut a deep swathe through protected sand dunes at the north and south of the beach.

“Efforts by us and our supporters to get information from the City of Stirling, from the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority (MRA) and from MLA Liza Harvey’s office, have been met with either long periods of silence or standard responses which do not address our requests and appear to be designed to stall our protest,” said Robyn Murphy Convenor Friends of Trigg Beach.

“And, to add insult to injury, the last response we received from the MRA said that information would be given to the hand-picked Community Advisory Committee.  But, according to the Terms of Reference, this Committee has been effectively gagged by a condition that bans any communications outside the committee meetings,” she added.

Representatives of the two groups met today (Tuesday, July 5, 2016) with Shadow Minister for the Environment, ChrisTallentire, in a bid to get their voices — and the individual voices of the thousands of Stirling residents opposed to the roads – heard.

“Chris Tallentire is deeply committed to the protection of our fragile environment and, as the Labor Party is widely tipped  to win the State election in March next year, we want to show him the destruction that is likely to happen on his watch”, said Robyn Murphy

They walked the existing bush and walking tracks that run alongside the dunes, discussed the deep incursions that would result from the construction of the roads and agreed that there were many alternatives open to the MRA.

“Mr Tallentire has told us that he is aware that two important protected Bush Forever areas are threatened by the construction of these roads and car parks, and he has assured us that our concerns are being taken seriously by the Labor Party.  He will be asking questions of the Minister for the Environment Albert Jacobs regarding the environmental assessments of the proposed roads and seeking their release to the public.”  Mr Tallentire is also supportive of our efforts to have more transparency in the planning process.

According to Beth Kennedy, Convenor of the SOS Group, there is no evidence to support the need for the roads, and all levels of administration seem to have totally ignored, or overruled existing bush protection policies in place to protect the regionally significant coastal dunes north and south of Scarborough.

“This is a serious breach of democratic processes.  The secrecy at all levels of government  is of real concern and demonstrates that the State Government is determined to go ahead with the roads despite the huge opposition from residents, beach users and members of the public,” she said.

“Despite thousands of protest letters, emails, phone calls and signatures on our online petition – the MRA continues to hide behind a claim that “only a handful of residents” are concerned,” she added.

“And they have contrived to establish a so-called advisory committee that is hobbled by terms of reference that forbids discussion outside the committee process.  Notably, the MRA is seeking advice from the committee on the design and planning of the roads, and no option is under consideration for the roads not to go ahead.  This is a faux consultation process and it has no credibility,” Ms Kennedy said.

The Friends of Trigg Beach and SOS have called on the expertise of professionals to examine alternative planning options that demonstrate that these road extensions are unnecessary.  “This is 20th century planning and is contrary to the MRA’s stated objectives of reducing car use and increasing access for pedestrians and cyclists at Scarborough Beach.” Ms Kennedy said.

Friends of Trigg Beach friendsoftriggbeach@gmail.com https://friendsoftriggbeach.org/

Save Our Sanddunes (SOS) savescarboroughdunes@gmail.com https://saveourscarborough.wordpress.com/