The Environmental Protection Authority has released its advice and recommendations to the Environment and Heritage Minister on a proposal by Coral Coast Marina Development Pty Ltd to develop the Coral Coast Resort at Mauds Landing in the southern portion of the Ningaloo Marine Park.Release Date:
28 October 2002Details:
The Environmental Protection Authority has released its advice and recommendations to the Environment and Heritage Minister on a proposal by Coral Coast Marina Development Pty Ltd to develop the Coral Coast Resort at Mauds Landing in the southern portion of the Ningaloo Marine Park.
EPA Chairman, Bernard Bowen, said the EPA's overarching advice is that the proposal should not be implemented unless the Government is able to develop sustainable planning processes and commit the necessary resources for the protection of environmental values of surrounding marine and coastal areas, including the existing township of Coral Bay.
"The EPA considered the proposal from two interrelated environmental perspectives," Mr Bowen said.
"First the EPA considered whether the built environment of the resort and its infrastructure, the proposal's footprint, could be constructed in such a way that direct environmental impacts could be managed.
"The EPA has advised the Minister that it can, provided the recommended strict environmental conditions are imposed and complied with.
"Second, the proposal in itself is an indicator of a wider, developing environmental problem associated with the impacts of increasing human pressure on the area.
"The EPA considers that proposals to cater for the growing population must be accompanied by a clear decision about the mechanisms by which management can be assured so as to provide the proper level of protection to the environment from the effects of people participation in this important area.
"If this wider environmental issue is not addressed then there is an increased risk that the environmental values that attract people in ever increasing numbers to visit this area will be degraded."
Mr Bowen said that despite the proponent's commitments to sustainable environmental management it was beyond the proponent's powers to carry out the management likely to be necessary to protect the values of the Ningaloo Marine Park and surrounding coastal areas.
"If there is concurrent development at both Coral Bay and Mauds Landing the potential capacity of a jointly-centred tourism node may be 5000 to 6000 people," Mr Bowen said.
"By way of comparison, the EPA understands that the number of visitors staying at Rottnest Island during peak periods is approximately 3840 and the population of Exmouth was approximately 4267 on census night in 2001."
At present there is no single Government entity which has the ability to adequately control access to coastal areas along the entire Ningaloo Marine Park to enable appropriate integrated management of coastal and sea areas.
Mr Bowen said that the Carnarvon-Ningaloo Coast Regional Strategy currently being undertaken by the Department of Planning and Infrastructure may, with the involvement of the EPA, natural resource management agencies and the community, provide the framework for the setting of the environmental objectives for this region.
"These objectives should be considered at the earliest possible stage in the planning of proposals that have the potential to directly or indirectly impact on environmental quality," he said.
"In this way, decision making is more straightforward, environmental safeguards are put in place up-front, and monitoring and management feedbacks are linked to agreed environmental objectives.
"The EPA has also noted that in other areas of the State and Australia, management of areas of exceptional environmental and social value is overseen and, or, undertaken by specific management entities, such as the Rottnest Island Authority and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.
"Consideration should be given to this approach for the management of the Ningaloo Marine Park and adjacent coastal areas."
The EPA's report is available at www.epa.wa.gov.au and is subject to appeal until close of business Monday 11 November 2002.
Media contact: Charlie Maling ph 9222 7062, 0400 866 450.Status: