Beach shacks to stay put for now

Pierra WillixSound Telegraph
Naval Base Holiday Association vice president Allan Nelson has owned one of the shacks for the last 30 years.
Camera IconNaval Base Holiday Association vice president Allan Nelson has owned one of the shacks for the last 30 years. Credit: Pierra Willix

Beach shacks lining the shores of Cockburn Sound in Henderson are being cited as a hindrance to the potential development of a new outer Harbour in Kwinana, but the City of Cockburn says it has no plans to terminate leases ahead of their 2022 expiry date.

The Naval Base Shacks consists of 178 shacks along Cockburn Road in Henderson which were first installed in 1933.

They are along a stretch of coastline that is being considered for a new WA port, but discussions are still in their preliminary stages, and expanding the Fremantle and Bunbury ports are options still on the table.

Some of the beach shacks in Henderson.
Camera IconSome of the beach shacks in Henderson. Credit: Pierra Willix

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Kwinana Industries Council director Chris Oughton said given discussions of a new port in Kwinana, the shacks were probably “way too close” to configurations being developed for a possible port expansion in the area.

“The problem with the shacks is that they are in the industrial area,” he said. “The Wattleup and Hope Valley town sites and residents were moved out because of proximity to industry, but we have an anomaly here with the shacks.”

Lands Minister Rita Saffioti said it was “too early” to understand whether the presence of the shacks was in conflict with the location and operation of potential port facilities in Cockburn Sound.

“Westport will consider the impact of the presence of the shacks on port development, as well as the impact of port development on users of the shacks,” she said.

The shacks are managed by the City of Cockburn, which in 2017 adopted a further five-year lease term for their owners, who pay a $2500 annual lease.

City of Cockburn planning and development services director Daniel Arndt said a decision on whether to extend the leases beyond 2022 would be made closer to their expiry and that the City was not considering early termination of the leases.

“The City notes that the Naval Base Holiday Park pre-dates the industrial development of Kwinana by some 20 years,” he said.

“Also, as industrial development has occurred, it has been able to effectively manage its operations such that public areas near the industrial strip remain safe for the community to enjoy.”

The shacks are solar and wind-powered and owners are only allowed to stay there for 120 days in a calendar year.

Naval Base Holiday Association vice-president Allan Nelson has owned one of the shacks for more than 30 years and said the development of a larger port in Cockburn Sound would be detrimental to marine life in the area.

He said Challenger Beach was regularly used by shack owners and members of the public and should continue to be used for this purpose.

“This should remain an A Class reserve so the public can continue to enjoy the area. Why would we let such a beautiful area be destroyed,” he said.

Mr Arndt said the Naval Base Holiday Park existed on crown land which had been vested with the City for the purposes of caravan park and camping.

“The City’s management of the crown land needs to be for this purpose,” he said.

“There has been no directions from the Government to the City to suggest Naval Base Holiday Park cannot exist into the future.”

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