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Smiths Beach Amendments

17 May 2002

Jayne Rickard, Journalism Student

Amendments to a controversial proposed development for Smiths Beach are currently being considered by the WA Planning Commission.

Opposing the development by Canal Rocks Pty Ltd is the 2000-strong Smiths Beach Action Group who want to protect the visual amenity and aesthetic values of Smiths Beach.

Group Chairman Bob McKay said, "I just couldn't sit by and allow Smiths to be developed to such an horrendous extent without doing something to stop it".

Smiths Beach, one bay south of Yallingup, has been earmarked for development since the formation of the Leeuwin Naturaliste Region Statement of Planning Policy in 1998.

Local resident Heather Taylor has lived adjacent to one of the National Parks proposed for development for over 17 years and feels passionately about the area. Miss Taylor said, "They [Canal Rocks Pty Ltd] have no idea of the pressure it will put on the area". "I realise that some kind of development is going to happen, I just hope they recognize that they should preserve the surrounding environment", she said.

Mr McKay has lived locally and surfed Smiths Beach for the past 35 years.
The success of the Smiths Beach Action Group in pressuring the developers to amend their proposal was due mostly to the high-profile media attention it gained.

Professional surfer and local identity Taj Burrows became a face for the campaign calling on Western Australia to support Smiths Beach.

The locals are hoping the plans will be modified relating to their input and submissions, but realise anything could happen.

Mr Mckay said, "We will continue to watch everything Canal Rocks Pty Ltd does".

The proponents, the local shire and the Action Group have been discussing the new methodologies and are now waiting on a response from the Minister for Planning and Infrastructure Alannah MacTiernan.

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