By Maria Bergwitz
Action group Hands Off Point Peron (HOPP) are holding community forums in Fremantle and Subiaco urging the public to join their campaign.
The group wants to encourage local residents to write submissions to the WA Planning Commission to stop the proposed Mangles Bay Marina (MBM) that will see Cape Peron dredged out to develop an inland marina.
With the MBM proposal, backed by Cedar Woods and LandCorp, in its planning phase, and submissions closing next month, HOPP founder and spokesperson Dawn Jecks fears that time is running out.
“We really need all West Australians to know what’s going on before it’s too late,” said Ms Jecks.
There are concerns the 20-year development plan will permanently destroy wildlife habitat and further threaten already endangered species such as Penguin Island’s Little Penguins and Lake Richmond’s Thrombolites.
The Environmental Protection Authority approved the MBM proposal in 2011.
Developers say improved management of boating practices will benefit the Little Penguins and management plans monitoring groundwater salinity will safeguard the freshwater system of nearby Lake Richmond.
Rockingham local Leo Vattagello, from the Steering Committee for key stakeholders for the Marina, representing Mangles Bay Fishing Club, is less concerned.
“I think they will do it environmentally responsibly,” said Mr Vattagello.
With a background in civil construction and civil engineering, Ms Jecks said she founded the HOPP campaign due to doubts about the economic feasibility of the MBM.
With current economic downturns in mind, she says it could be likely developers will not be able to see it through and the community would be left with a construction site.
“It will be a huge taxpayer and ratepayer fiasco and expense,” said Ms Jecks.
“Someone is going to cop the bill if this happens, and it’s going to be us.”
The group’s alternative proposal to develop Cape Peron Coastal Park comes at an estimated cost of $8 million and will seek to capitalise on the rising popularity of ecotourism.
Offering both residential and commercial opportunities, developers of the MBM say the marina will create long-term job opportunities and projects economic benefits of more than $1.3 bn dollars.
See our video about the proposed Cape Peron Coastal Park: