The Environmental Protection Authority has released its section 16 advice to the Minister for the Environment in relation to the strategic environmental implications of the Cape Peron Tourist Precinct Project, Rockingham. The report identifies the key environmental issues associated with the Project, gathering and presenting information on these issues at a strategic level.Release Date:
23 October 2006Details:
The Environmental Protection Authority has released its section 16 advice to the Minister for the Environment in relation to the strategic environmental implications of the Cape Peron Tourist Precinct Project, Rockingham. The report identifies the key environmental issues associated with the Project, gathering and presenting information on these issues at a strategic level.
The Strategic Environmental Review (SER) document prepared for the Cape Peron Tourist Precinct Steering Committee proposes a tourist based marina that is predominately land-based to accommodate more than 500 boats to incorporate local boating clubs, commercial areas and boat pens for public use (both short and long-term). The surrounding land development is described as ‘mixed-use’ with tourism facilities, accommodation, commercial areas, public open space and residential areas.
EPA Chairman Dr Wally Cox said that substantial additional investigations would be required for the environmental impact assessment process if the Project proceeds to a development proposal.
“The significant environmental issues identified by the EPA include impacts on seagrass and water quality, Lake Richmond and terrestrial vegetation,” Dr Cox said.
“The marina development could result in the loss of up to 10 hectares of seagrass from direct and indirect impacts.
“The EPA’s goal for Cockburn Sound is that there should be no further loss of seagrass and the SER proposes transplantation to establish in excess of 10 hectares in other parts of Cockburn Sound.
“While there have been advances in techniques for seagrass transplantation it has not been undertaken at the scale proposed as part of this Project.
“Also, unless nutrient loads from groundwater and stormwater entering the Lake Richmond area and flowing through into Mangles Bay are reduced, the EPA has reservations as to whether the proposal can be designed to ensure that water quality within Mangles Bay does not worsen, leading to further loss of seagrass.
Dr Cox said that another issue is that there is not enough knowledge of the hydrogeology of the area, at this time, to provide any confidence that a marina could be constructed in proximity to Lake Richmond without potentially impacting the Lake, which is an internationally recognised wetland.
“Further studies would be required to provide assurance that a development could proceed without detriment to Lake Richmond,” he said.
The proposal also entails the direct loss of between 40 and 53 hectares of vegetation depending on which option is considered. Between 31 and 44 hectares of this is clearing within Bush Forever Site 355 and the Rockingham Lakes Regional Park.
“If the Project were to proceed to the next stage, the area of vegetation clearing would need to be minimised wherever possible with detailed spring vegetation surveys required and it would be expected that an offset package would be developed as part of a formal development proposal,” Dr Cox said.
“Investigations would also have to be undertaken into the hydrogeology of the site to ensure no intrusion of salt water into the superficial aquifer, as this may impact on terrestrial vegetation.”
Outcomes of the strategic review have highlighted the need for an investigation into the future of the entire Cape Peron area, including the recreational lease sites.
“While the consideration of the social issues is not an environmental matter as such, the Steering Committee will need to be careful as to how the mix of uses is catered for,” Dr Cox said.
“The SER does not appear to provide sufficient scope to accommodate a wide range of social aspects without causing additional environmental impacts through increasing the proposed development footprint.
“The EPA is concerned that the social mix of the site would be addressed at the expense of the environment.
“Given the potential for the Project to impact on a large proportion of Cape Peron, it is recommended that a planning study incorporating the whole of the Cape area should be undertaken.”
The Project is also likely to require modifications to both the Garden Island causeway and the Water Corporation’s Sepia outlet pipe. A reservation for the proposed Garden Island Highway currently runs along the southern edge of Lake Richmond.
The EPA’s report is available at www.epa.wa.gov.au
The Section 16 advice on the Project’s SER does not result in environmental approval. The process is intended to allow the EPA to provide advice on any environmental impacts associated with the Project at a strategic level. After receiving the advice of the EPA, Government will then decide if the Project should proceed. If it is to proceed, the proposal developed would be subject to formal environmental impact assessment. There is no right of appeal against Section 16 advice.
The EPA is a five person board providing overarching independent environmental advice to the Minister for the Environment through the preparation of environmental protection policies and the assessment of development proposals and management plans, as well as providing public statements about matters of environmental importance.
The EPA is supported by the EPA Service Unit. This Unit sits administratively within the Department of Environment and Conservation but for EPA matters is under the control of the EPA.
Media contact: Charlie Maling ph 6467 5415 or mobile 0400 866 450. Status: