Proponents of a controversial development at Smiths Beach have been angered by a suggested amendment to planning guidelines at the site near Yallingup.
Planning Minister Alannah MacTiernan said the amendment, which will soon be considered by the WA Planning Commission, would clear ambiguities in the Leeuwin Naturaliste Ridge statement of planning policy which governs the site.
But Canal Rocks Pty Ltd chairman David McKenzie said the proposal was an ad hoc attempt to appease local opposition. That opposition last year forced the proponents to shelve plans for a lavish development at the site. "If extensive planning studies earmarked Smiths Beach for development under the planning policy, how is it proper planning to make a quick change to limit development," he said. "To amend the policy, formulated over a considerable period of time with extensive public input, makes a mockery of planning processes throughout the State."
Ms MacTiernan confirmed Mr McKenzie's claim that 83 per cent of the 1115 submissions on the amendment made to the Department of Planning and Infrastructure were opposed to the proposed changes. Mr McKenzie said those submissions included one from the Busselton Shire Council.
But Ms MacTiernan said measures were needed to ensure the scale of development at Smiths Beach was not excessive. An important part of the amendment was to force any future development proposal to comprise 75 per cent tourism accommodation and just 25 per cent residential housing.
Mr McKenzie said a study methodology for a new development proposal had been prepared and advertised and was awaiting council endorsement.
The proponents had developed, with the shire, the department and the Smiths Beach Action Group, a planning process to identify opportunities and constraints for the land.
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