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Cape Peron bid hopped up

Chloe FraserSound Telegraph
Hands Off Point Peron Founder Dawn Jecks.
Camera IconHands Off Point Peron Founder Dawn Jecks. Credit: Gareth McKnight

The decades-old debate over the use of Cape Peron has ramped up again, with a vocal local environment group claiming a planning investigation into so-called residential properties could see the area “bulldozed and privatised”.

Hands Off Point Peron, which successfully agitated to have the Mangles Bay Marina proposal axed in March 2018, is once again actively lobbying to stymie development in the area after a planning investigation was launched to provide recommendations to the State Government about appropriate future uses.

HOPP insists the threat of privatisation and urbanisation of Point Peron public land remains real, with “residential opportunities” listed as a key matter for consideration in the planning investigation’s terms of reference.

However a spokesman for Ms Saffioti said there were no plans for permanent residential development on the Cape Peron peninsula.

He said the term “residential opportunities” consideration as part of the investigation, instead covered low-impact, tourism-related options such as tent sites or caravan parks.

Though a community reference group was formed to help those involved in the planning investigation consult with the community, HOPP refused an invitation to be a part of it, with founder Dawn Jecks claiming they would have been “gagged” from talking to the media or commenting on work on social media.

At the December 2019 annual electors meeting, Ms Jecks put forward two motions which would change the City of Rockingham’s current policy to “better address electors’ concerns”.

The first urged the City to lobby the State Government to make the Bush Forever site 355 at Point Peron A-class as soon as possible, while the second directed the City to pressure the State Government to keep future land use at Point Peron for its original purpose — which was for natural open space and recreation.

“The process of making all of Cape Peron an A-class reserve is likely to be complicated and drawn out,” she said. “As an urgent interim first step the Bush Forever needs to be protected against the risk of some of it being bulldozed and privatised.

“There is no public support for public housing at Point Peron and is of great concern.”

At this month’s council meeting, the motion was defeated and an alternative motion from Cr Craig Buchanan to reaffirm council’s commitmentto make Cape Peron Reserve 48968 Class A passed.

His alternative motion also directed the City’s chief executive to write to Premier Mark McGowan and the Minister for Planning Rita Saffioti, outlining the concerns raised by HOPP at the electors’ meeting.

Development of Point Peron has proved controversial for decades, with Rockingham Mayor Barry Sammels expressing optimism more than a decade ago that plans for a marina had broad public support.

However the debate dragged on and of the 496 submissions received on the proposal in 2018 to allow for a marina, 403 of those were from locals opposed to it.

After the Mangles Bay Marina proposal was scrapped by Ms Saffioti in 2018, council called on the State to establish a collaborative process to determine the long-term use of the area.

A draft plan will come to council once the investigation is complete.

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