Following weeks of requests the Smiths Beach Action Group (SBAG) has finally had the opportunity of viewing the development guide plan for loc 413 at a presentation by the developers consultants last Tuesday.
Acting spokesman for the group Kevin Merifield said it was disappointing it had taken so long to view the plans considering they are the recognized stakeholders representing the community of Smiths Beach when numerous other groups / individuals had received presentations.
The Action Group formed following public outcry from the previously failed proposal in 2001 has diligently pursued the matter ever since and was instrumental in seeking Government assurances that any development at Smiths Beach would have to meet stringent planning controls to protect the landscape and environmental values of this iconic coastal headland hence the implementation of the amended Leeuwin Naturaliste Ridge Policy in 2003.
The group is committed to ensure the policies and guidelines of the LNRP are fully met and the methodologies formulated to guide the process in determining the developable area have been strictly adhered to. Following the presentation of the DGP members of the Action group are strongly of the view that the scale of the development is still too large and will adversely impact on the visual amenity and landscape values of the area. They are also of the view that the guidelines set out in the amended LNRP and methodologies have not been fully met in determining the developable area which in turn determines the scale of the development permitted.
Smiths Beach already struggles to cope with peak time users which would compound substantially if the current proposal proceeded. The developers through their large publicity machine have been very vocal in their comments about community involvement in formulating their plans. This has been misleading as they haven't listened to the repeated requests from SBAG and other community members who attended the workshops in addressing the major concerns of scale and visual impact. To their credit they have taken on board input on other smaller matters however it is the big ticket items that really count.
When amendments to the LNRP were made they were given the opportunity of increasing the density of the development through an amended R code. This was done to compensate for what should be a substantially reduced developable area once defined provided the policies and guidelines of the amended LNRP and methodologies are strictly adhered to.
The Action group will seek assurances from the Busselton Shire that all the policies and guidelines of the LNRP and methodologies have been fully met before the DGP is advertised for public comment as required in its own Town planning scheme.
The Action group expects the same public support it received previously in opposing any development that does not meet community expectations.