Port users slam apartments plan

By Chris Thomson | posted on July 5, 2018

PROPONENTS of a hotel on a harbour-front block owned by business identity Paul Lionetti are on a collision course with powerful farming and transport groups over plans to allow apartments at the site prone to noise from trucks and trains that service the Port of Albany.

More than 40 objections have been lodged to plans by Foreshore Investments Albany Pty Ltd for permission to build up to 6800sqm of apartments on the 9599sqm block on Princess Royal Drive.

Southern Ports complains an acoustics assessment of the site is not detailed enough to recommend a noise control package for the hotel-cum-apartment block, which is on the main truck route to the port.

The WA Farmers Federation argues a memorandum of agreement negotiated in 2007 is “very specific in the prohibition of permanent residential activity and acknowledgement and respect for continuous heavy haulage road and rail access to the Port of Albany”.

“It is extremely disappointing that the City of Albany is considering changes to this agreement to allow permanent accommodation,” the lobby group laments.

“Our members have cited a number of examples where complaints from recently arrived residents in agricultural or other industrial areas have resulted in restrictions to operating hours and the imposition of curfews.

“The possibility of any such restrictions to port access in the future would be extremely detrimental to the agricultural industry in Albany and surrounding region.”

The Forest Industries Federation of WA says planned alterations to the memorandum are not adequate to assure its members’ ongoing freight operations.

The Freight and Logistics Council of WA says the plan would increase the number of permanent residents in areas exposed to the highest impact of freight transport noise and vibration, leading to calls for restrictions on adjacent rail and road operations.

“That outcome would be disastrous for the efficiency of the port and the international competitiveness of the goods it handles,” the group submits.

The Stirlings to Coast Farmers collective says its members strongly oppose apartments at the site, located immediately across Toll Place from Mr Lionetti’s Due South tavern.

“In our view, any changes made that put our members’ continued access to the port facilities at risk would be seen to demonstrate a strong disregard for the concerns of hard-working farmers in our region by the Albany City Council,” the collective asserts.

But TourismWA disagrees, advising the amendments would improve financial viability of the project, which the State Government tourism promotion arm sees as “an essential piece of Albany accommodation infrastructure”.

Foreshore Investments’ consultant planners Harley Dykstra argue apartments would “support the viable operation of these buildings, which have historically prevented the development of a hotel and short stay accommodation” on the vacant waterfront block.

An overall recommendation on the apartments is yet to be put to Albany’s mayor and councillors.