A WA Planning Commission proposal to rezone an industrial strip in North Fremantle for housing will put a popular beach at risk says the Leighton Action Coalition.
The WAPC has recommended rezoning 23.9 hectares opposite Port Beach, which it has dubbed the North Fremantle Urban Precinct as “urban deferred” and parkland.
But coalition spokesperson Paul Gamblin said that like other parts of Australia, Fremantle’s coast would be damaged by climate change and Port Beach would shrink and make a “huge mess”.
“It’s a very clear pattern that’s happening around Australia and around the world and we wanted to get ahead of that,” Mr Gamblin said.
The proposed rezoning includes a 50-metre green belt east of Port Beach Road, but the coalition believes erosion will eat into it and leave future residents short of open space.
Mr Gamblin has urged the Fremantle and surrounding communities to write to their local member of parliament about concerns and to support his campaign ‘Save Leighton’.
“What we’re doing is fighting for the future, fighting so that the community in the future can actually enjoy the coastal experience that most of us have grown up with and taken for granted.”
Fremantle council also supports deferring development until the McGowan government’s Future
of Fremantle taskforce completes its extensive planning exercise to determine what the city will look like once its port moves South to Kwinana.
At Wednesday’s full council meeting, the council also beefed up a officer’s recommendation to tell the WAPC its proposed green buffer was inadequate.
Cr Su Groome moved an extensive amendment that proposes pulling the buffer back to Bracks Street, saying the site developer’s estimation of a 28 – 70 metre gap between waves and apartments by 2115 wouldn’t have enough space for the infrastructure needed for a busy regional beach.
Cr Groome said the situation would only get worse if, as expected, North Quay was developed for housing when the port moves south, as there’d be further pressure on the beach.
Councillor Bryn Jones agrees with the coalition’s suggested 250-metre buffer but says it will be difficult to get the WAPC to be more generous. But he supports housing on the site to create a “thriving new beachside community.”
“We would like to see a good mix of people, but it is likely to be very expensive,” Cr Jones said.
He hopes the extra residents will finally give North Fremantle the population to support a “viable shopping centre”.
The proposed amendment is up for public submissions on the WAPC website until 5pm June 3.
by LAILA RICUPERO