By Michael Roberts | posted on October 15, 2020
CONTROVERSIAL plans to build an apartment resort at Goode Beach have been refused by the Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC) more than two years after the project was endorsed by City of Albany councillors.
The proposal, which would have seen 51 holiday units sprout up on a 7.7ha site between Goode Beach and Lake Vancouver, is now on shaky grounds after proponents Cherry Martin and Rolf Koch withdrew their application late last month.
A Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage (DPLH) spokesperson said the withdrawal followed an extensive mediation process after the applicants opted to refer the matter to the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) in 2019.
“At its February meeting, the Statutory Planning Committee resolved not to support the application in order to form a position to take forward through the SAT proceedings,” the spokesperson said.
“Through the SAT process, the Department participated in mediated discussions in May 2020 with the applicant to discuss elements of the proposal.
“The SAT application was subsequently withdrawn by the applicant on September 21, 2020.”
Many Frenchman Bay locals have fiercely opposed the project, with residents strongly voicing their dismay at a City of Albany Council meeting in July 2018.
At that meeting, 10 of 13 councillors voted to endorse the tourist resort and send the project to the WAPC for review.
Long-term Goode Beach resident Warren Flynn said he was shocked Council had given developers the green light despite significant environmental concerns.
“It is staggering that the Council keeps giving developers some hope they can make some money on their real estate gamble,” he said.
On top of the 51 holiday apartments, the proposal included provisions to build a cafe, function centre and pool.
Frenchman Bay Association President Catherine Macdonald said the resort would have been completely unsuitable for the “very sensitive site.”
“The resort would have disturbed fragile sand dunes and endangered the conservation grade wetland,” she said.
“In addition to the wetland, Lot 660 is home to or used by threatened or priority species including the western ringtailed possum, black cockatoos and the extremely rare Albany wetland sundew.”
Despite the setback, developers look determined to get the project back on track.
The DPLH spokesperson said the proponents had submitted a pre-lodgement request for the tourist resort to be considered through a new assessment pathway for ‘significant developments’.
“Should a formal development application be lodged with WAPC at the conclusion of the pre-lodgement process, it would be determined by the WAPC under the new assessment pathway for significant developments upon conclusion of consultation with Local Government, regulatory agencies along with public consultation,” the spokesperson said.