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New $330 million development for Smiths Beach designed
to blend with the bush and accomodate 1500 people

'Rotto-style' plan for SW beach

25 August 2005

Suellen Jerrard, The West Australian

Developers have unveiled a $330 million plan to turn Smiths Beach into the South-West version of Rottnest.

Canal Rocks Pty Ltd wants to build 114 permanent homes, 272 holiday units, a 100-bed and 40-tent resort and a 72-bed backpackers lodge at the famous site near Yallingup.

There are also plans for a conference centre, 2000sq m of shops, cafes and bars and 200sq m of community facilities.

Under the plan put before Busselton Shire, about 1500 people could be accommodated at Smiths Beach within 15 years. At present, it is home to only the Chandler family and their 15 two-bedroom holiday units.

Canal Rocks company chairman David McKenzie said yesterday he was confident the proposal would not meet the same strong opposition that greeted the developers’ initial plans nearly five years ago.

Busselton Shire rejected those plans after it received more than 3000 submissions claiming the visual amenity of the popular surfing beach would be harmed, pristine bush destroyed, native wildlife displaced and pollution created.

Mr McKenzie said the developers had been honest in addressing the community’s concerns and reworking the plan, which had been dramatically reduced in size.

He said “a lot of money” had been spent engaging at least 25 of the country’s best consulting firms and the project was now unrivalled in Australia.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for the South-West and the State as a whole to make a big statement here,” Mr McKenzie said. “This is a landmark project, it has been our intent for the last 10 years to create a world-class development.”

But the Smiths Beach Action Group, set up to fight the original plans, remains skeptical. Chairman Bob McKay said he was concerned that cashed-up developers could sell any plan, whether good or bad for the area.

Mr McKay said the action group would push for detailed, independent assessments of the latest proposal, which he was concerned would destroy its visual beauty.

“It is recognized as the most beautiful beach in the northern cape area so we’ve got to make sure whatever the proposal it does not detract from the visual amenity,” Mr McKay said.

Consultant Malcolm Mackay said the development was designed to fit in with the area’s environment and holiday nature. There would be common driveways and no common fencing. Walking and cycling would be encouraged over driving.

The developers hoped the public feedback could be completed by the end of next year and work could start the next year.

© Copyright 2005 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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