‘They’ve ruined us’

• Labor MP Fran Logan addresses Munster landowners affected by a proposed industry buffer. Photo by Steve Grant

• Labor MP Fran Logan addresses Munster landowners affected by a proposed industry buffer. Photo by Steve Grant

TWO aged pensioners who dreamed of becoming millionaires will instead struggle to feed themselves because of a proposed industry buffer over their Munster property.

They are one of 26 families living beside Lake Coogee fighting a proposed buffer — stretching from Rockingham — that will prevent their land being developed for housing.

The buffer is being pushed by the Kwinana Industries Council, but landowners reckon their inclusion is the result of dirty tricks by the Water Corporation.

The pensioners had been living on a 1.4 hectare property owned by the man’s elderly father, but he died a little over a year ago and it’s currently being transferred to their name.

The former market gardeners have been told the land’s value puts them over a Centrelink threshold and they’ll only receive half their pension after the transfer.

Not being able to subdivide, they fear the only way to avoid starvation is to sell the entire block—including the family home.

But with uncertainty hanging over the area, and Cockburn suffering a sales slump, no-one’s buying.

Fellow owner Robyn O’Brien says the buffer is scaring off developers and buyers.

Her property was on the market for more than a year and she dropped the price significantly, but received just one offer, which was too low for her to accept.

“They’ve ruined us,” Ms O’Brien said, when the Herald met with the owners earlier this week.

The former Cockburn councillor says they’re only in the buffer because of lobbying by Water Corp, which has a wastewater treatment plant on the other side of Lake Coogee.

The state body claims its odours are uncontrollable and it needs a buffer to prevent unwary buyers being stuck with stinky homes.

But Ms O’Brien counters that legislation outlaws emissions and similar sites dont have buffers.

“We are not anywhere near a Kwinana industry or Kwinana,” she says.

“The corp is using the Kwinana Industries Council push for the trade coast buffer to encapsulate our area in a buffer.”

Labor MP Fran Logan says Water Corp is trying to get a buffer through the backdoor, as the area is supposedly being considered for exclusion by planning minister John Day.

At the meeting, the residents said they felt like they’d been left in no-man’s land.

The area has been tagged by the WA planning commission for possible future industrial development, but that’s opposed by Cockburn council which wants semi-rural properties left as an industry buffer. It’s zoned for housing. The residents fear the impasse means they’ll never be able to do either.


11. Pink Rice 10x3

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