16 July 2003
by Helen Turner of The Busselton Dunsborough Mail
SMITHS Beach Action Group has responded to statements by Canal Rocks Pty Ltd's community consultant Allan Tranter that claimed the company's application for a single dwelling on its land was no different from another single dwelling already approved higher up the hill and owned by Bill Mitchell.
Mr Tranter said that consultations were important to allay fears about development plans and one example was the recent development application lodged by Canal Rocks chairman David McKenzie for a single residence 18 years after the syndicate bought the land.
"We have been able to reassure community members that the application by Canal Rocks Pty Ltd is no different from another single dwelling higher up the hill and owned by Bill Mitchell, a key supporter of the Smiths Beach Action Group and himself a significant developer," Mr Tranter said.
Mr McKenzie said there had been little controversy over the approval already given to Mr Mitchell's single residence.
Smiths Beach Action Group chairman Bob McKay said the statement that there was no difference between the Mitchell residence and the developer's application for a residence was incorrect.
He said that Mr Mitchell had approval to build two dwellings on his property and in return had agreed to a conservation zone over his entire property.
"It is public knowledge that Canal Rocks Pty Ltd is a group of investors who are anonymous unit trust holders and have a very definite agenda to develop Location 413 for commercial gain," he said.
"The previous development guide plan, which was withdrawn in the face of huge public outcry, demonstrated to everyone to what extent they wished to develop the land.
"It would be difficult to believe that this application to build a single dwelling is the extent of their aspirations for the land."
Mr McKay said that if the application was the extent of the development and the developers decided to place the rest of the land in a conservation zone as Mr Mitchell had done he was sure the community would applaud.
He said Mr Mitchell had not replied to the developer's statements as he was recovering from a major operation for cancer.
Mr McKenzie said in a press release that the commitment of his group to the Smiths Beach area was unquestioned and the decision to build a home there was further proof of that commitment.
He said that he, more than anyone, was aware of the controversy and difficulty that had dogged plans to develop Smiths Beach. "The very limited nature of the proposal to build a single residence will complement any development proposal that flows from and is supported by the community in the consultation process," he said.
Mr Tranter of Creating Communities is seeking public comment on suitable development options for Smiths Beach and wants to hear from those who have yet to express an opinion.
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