THE views of a tiny handful of rich old blokes have guided the Rottnest Island Authority’s decision to back a multi-million dollar marina complex at Thomson Bay.
The RIA has been claiming in media statements it has “broad support” from the boating community for the 250-pen marina, three storeys of luxury accommodation and commercial and recreational facilities. But a Herald check of the RIA’s data shows 93 per cent of online survey respondents were men, overwhelmingly over the age of 55 and most owned big, expensive boats.
A 2013 survey, which had included a random sample of boat users—mostly with smaller boats—had shown far less support for a marina, with just one in five users stating they’d upgrade their mooring to a pen.
When the Herald did its own straw poll of the general population, support for the Rottnest marina collapsed entirely: just two in 15 expressed support
Our respondents were scathing of the RIA for excluding other island visitors from taking part in its survey.
Local Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren says the RIA and the Barnett government have been “misrepresenting” figures in reports to inflate the supposed level of support.
“Boaties don’t want the Rottnest marina,” she says.
“The online survey by Painted Dog Research of 813 boating visitors in March of this year showed only 33 per cent want a ‘comprehensive marina-style development’ of the like proposed by the Barnett government.
“The other 67 per cent instead wanted either a moderate increase in facilities or the island left largely unchanged.
“Developers intending to express interest in this proposal should read the Government’s market research results carefully rather than rely on the Government’s public statements.”
by MARTA PASCUAL JUANOLA