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New limits on South-West development

04 January 2003

By Steve Pennells of The West Australian

THE State Government has imposed tough new development restrictions on WA's South-West to stop it becoming an exclusive playground for the rich.

Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan unveiled the Government's philosophical approach to coastal development yesterday, saying no area of WA would be allowed to become a clone of Surfers Paradise.

Ms MacTiernan announced tighter restrictions on a big residential and tourist development at Smiths Beach, near Yallingup, to limit long-term residential accommodation to 30 per cent of the site.

A previous bid would have allowed a bigger chunk of the development to be sold off as high-priced beachfront homes.

She said the move was a watershed which would have ramifications for beachfront development across the State.

The South-West should be accessible to everyone.

"We are saying we are prepared to have a development on the coast but not to have the development imposed on the coastline," she said.

Ms MacTiernan said the Government had amended a planning policy for the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge which would stop the Canal Rocks development at Smiths Beach from being dominated by residential, instead of tourism, accommodation. It was an indication of the path the Government would take on developments all along WA's coast. The Canal Rocks bid has been at the centre of controversy for several years. The Yallingup community almost unanimously opposed it.

Smiths Beach Action Group chairman Bob McKay said the announcement was long overdue. He said opponents of the Canal Rocks bid were not against development but wanted to see any resort compliment its environment.

But the developers foreshadowed legal action if the Government's move meant a development was not viable.

Canal Rocks Pty Ltd chairman David McKenzie said he had not yet seen details of the Government's announcement and did not know if a viable development was possible.

He was aware development on Smiths Beach needed special care.

"However, if on examination the amendment does not facilitate a viable development plan then my company shall need to look at all its options, including legal remedies."

Liberal MLA for Vasse, Bernie Masters, welcomed the Government move but said it should have come sooner. Smiths was just one of a dozen hotspots in the South-West.

Copyright 2003 by West Australian Newspapers Ltd. This report is for information only. No charge for such use is made and the material is not being used for commercial purposes. The text has not been modified from the original report.

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