Jurien Bay locals protest over stink at local marina, claiming poor design led to rotten seaweed, fish kills

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Elise Van AkenMidwest Times
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Sahara, Chance and Harmony Metcalf with their mother Tamara Jane.
Camera IconSahara, Chance and Harmony Metcalf with their mother Tamara Jane. Credit: Supplied

Jurien Bay locals took to their streets on Saturday to protest the State Government’s “unfinished business” which has caused an environmental disaster at their local boat harbour.

About 150 people, including young families, long-time residents and Shire of Dandaragan chief executive Brent Bailey, marched down Bashford Street to Jurien Bay Marina, holding signs and chanting “it stinks”.

Locals were expressing concerns that the marina’s poor design has resulted in rotting seaweed and other sediment being trapped and killing fish and causing a foul stench.

The marina was constructed in 1988, but the original design was never completed.

Protesters in Jurien Bay calling for upgrades to their marina following fish kills.
Camera IconProtesters in Jurien Bay calling for upgrades to their marina following fish kills.

Protest organiser Penelope Normington said the stench and water toxicity prompted locals to rally and call on the Transport Minister to fund an extension to the unfinished amenity.

“Animals dying in huge numbers and if it were any other animal the RSPCA would get involved, but because it’s marine life there’s no one. The animals don’t have a voice to say they’re suffering,” she said.

The poluted Jurien Bay Marina.
Camera IconThe poluted Jurien Bay Marina.

“The marina is unfinished business, a lot of older people have spent a lot of time on trying to get this sorted and it’s not fair if another marina may be built somewhere else when ours is unfinished.

“I’m quietly confident with the $5.6 billion budget surplus that money can be channelled into regional towns like ours... there’s been a big shift in tourism with people turning inward and holidaying in WA and we deserve to have a nice marina.”

A online petition for the cause has garnered more than 1000 signatures, with a hard-copy version circulating and set to be presented in Parliament by Agricultural Region member Sandra Carr.

Moore MP Shane Love, who last week raised a grievance motion on the issue in Parliament and presented a petition for the development in 2014, said it was concerning budget forward estimates showed no funding for the project for the next four years.

“This is a Labor government sitting comfortably on a surplus of $5.6 billion — thanks to the strong price of iron ore — but they have opted to do nothing about this recurring environmental disaster that is the Jurien Bay Marina,” he said.

“Fish kills and weed accumulation in the Jurien Bay Marina are a recurring seasonal issue, one that I raised when elected in 2013 by taking a grievance to the then transport minister.

“The transport minister has told us repeatedly that funding for the recommended spur groyne is being considered as part of the annual budget process.” Transport Minister Rita Saffioti responded to the grievance, admitting the area had been experiencing poor water quality and fish kills since 2002, but said Commonwealth funding was needed to address the issues.

“As a result of the work undertaken by the Department of Transport, we have now completed a business case for which we are seeking funding,” she said.

“I expect that I will be approaching the Commonwealth Government very soon to see whether it will contribute, but we are very keen to secure funding as part of future budget processes to make those modifications.

“In the meantime, we have commenced the detailed planning, environmental and other approvals processes to make sure that should we get the funding, we will be able to go to market and construct that breakwater modification.

“We expect those environmental and other approvals to be provided in the second half of next year.”

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