Point Grey: Developer back to drawing board as state tribunal dismisses marina proposal appeal

The development company behind the proposed Point Grey marina has been sent back to the drawing board, with the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) denying an appeal for permission to start work on the project.

Tian An Australia want to construct a 300-berth marina on the western side of the Point Grey peninsula and have plans to include residential properties and tourism facilities at the site.

The project also would include the dredging of a 2.5 kilometre navigation channel across the Peel-Harvey Estuary.

There has been almost unilateral disdain for the proposal in the Mandurah community, with both local councils, politicians and environmental organisations calling for a stop to the proposal.

In June the Shire of Murray voted against allowing initial earthworks on the project to commence - a decision Tian An Australia appealed with SAT in October.

However, after the panel deliberated for about four weeks, on Tuesday the state body upheld the Shire's decision to block the initial work from taking place.

"In weighing up all of the evidence before it and given the finding that the proposed development is properly to be regarded as the first stage of a proposed future marina project, the Tribunal finds that the correct and preferable decision is to dismiss the application and affirm the decision of the respondent," the report concludes.

Canning MP Andrew Hastie, who spoke out against the proposal in federal parliament back in September, said SAT had made the correct decision.

"Today our community had a massive win," he said.

"It means the Shire was right to insist that the local community have a say about what happens in our backyard.

"This is not the end of the matter and we need to remain vigilant.

"But for now thank you to the thousands of people who signed the petition and demanded that our community be heard.

"Congratulations to Shire of Murray president David Bolt and chief executive Dean Unsworth for their leadership and commitment to our community and environment.

"And thank you to the Peel Harvey Catchment Council, Indigenous Elders Harry Nannup, Frank Nannup and George Walley, City of Mandurah mayor Rhys Williams and all our community leaders who have spoken out."

Peel-Harvey Catchment Council chairwoman Caroline Knight said the environmental group was "thrilled" with the tribunal's decision.

"The SAT's ruling vindicates the Shire of Murray's decision and the work of many, many community members and organisations that rallied behind them to try to bring some sense to this very long process," she said.

"Our waterways are our greatest asset and the economic base of our community, we simply must protect it.

"While the SAT decision is welcomed, we need to understand that this doesn't make this proposal go away all together.

"The proponent may appeal the decision to a higher court, and they may resubmit an application for the marina and channel.

"The PHCC will continue to advocate with all levels of government towards a more permanent protection."

Tian An Australia chief operating officer Hai-Young Lu said the decision would not change the company's vision of delivering a marina at Point Grey.

"Firstly, we are delighted that the SAT accepted the validity of the State and Federal environmental approvals in place for this project, which in turn recognises our robust, stringent and meticulous approach," he said.

"This project has sustainability and the future needs of the community at its heart.

"Point Grey is a vitally important project for the region's future, and we remain fully committed to delivering it.

"We will take the time we need to understand the SAT's decision and respond in due course, however, our vision for this important location has not changed.

"Point Grey is a wonderfully sustainable project that meets the growing need for more diverse housing in the Peel region.

"It will create around 4000 local jobs during construction and a further 1400 permanent jobs thereafter providing a much-needed boost to the local economy.

"It will generate long-term economic benefits by helping cement Peel as a world-class tourism destination, while providing much-needed boating and recreation facilities for a growing community.

"We're far from discouraged by this decision. We will review things in detail before meeting with stakeholders to plan our next steps as we move towards to construction."

Shire of Murray president David Bolt said he was glad the tribunal agreed with the council's initial decision.

"The Shire has been under intense pressure in considering the application," he said.

"However, the overwhelming community support received and concerns expressed regarding the lack of detailed plans to ensure adequate protection of the precious Peel-Harvey Estuary, helped to harden council's resolve.

"We plan to continue to ensure we scrutinise all details of this development, even though the state and federal governments have given the project an environmental green light.

"I am relieved that the State Administrative Tribunal shared our very real concerns, particularly in terms of the initial stages of the marina which would have locked in environmental approvals even though the adequate plans were not presented to ensure ongoing protection of the estuary and the fragile environment."