MONTHS of locals lobbying environment ministers to visit the site of the controversial Point Grey development proposal paid off this week.
Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke met with various environmental representatives and stakeholders to understand their concerns on Tuesday.
The minister was praised for taking the time to get all the information before making an informed final decision by the end of this month as to whether the proposed 2.5km navigational channel across the Peel Harvey Estuary and the onshore marina should go ahead.
Mandurah MLA David Templeman was impressed Mr Burke visited the site but was disappointed State Environment Minister Bill Marmion failed to do so before giving the proposal its preliminary approval.
“I am amazed that the Federal Environment Minister could find the time to come here from Canberra, but the State Environment Minister, Liberal Bill Marmion couldn’t be bothered making the 80-kilometre trip from Perth,” Mr Templeman said.
“The Federal Minister was able to be shown firsthand the area relating to the proposal and we outlined to him why we are so concerned about what is being proposed and its impacts on the estuary and the health and wellbeing of our waterways.
“Before he left Mandurah I urged Mr Burke to very seriously consider the major weaknesses in the EPA’s decision on the proposal, the strong local opposition to the proposal and his clear obligations to protect the RAMSAR listed Peel Harvey system.”
Fisheries Association president Damien Bell voiced his and other locals serious concerns associated with the dredging and its impact on the area and its female blue swimmer crab breeding ground.
“We have been told the original dredge would equate to 50 soccer fields high of dirt,” Mr Bell said.
“Our concern is if the proposal goes ahead what impact the silt movement would have – while it’s under construction and maintenance.
“How are Point Bouvard Limited going to put all that stuff up on land if houses are there?”
Mr Burke said all the project’s social and economic matters raised by stakeholders and public would be taken into consideration in determining whether to approve it or not.
“The assessment and approval process set out under national environment law is open and thorough, taking into account any expert scientific advice and public comments,” he said.
“A decision on approval is due by September 28.”