EPA won’t spoil our marina

Sam JonesNorth West Telegraph

A $95 million modern revamp of the Port Hedland coast is one step closer after clearing the State environmental approvals process.

The project, which will include up to 80 boat pens, four boat ramps, a nature playground, and a floating public jetty was first announced in October 2018, with community consultation sessions held by LandCorp in August and September.

At an ordinary meeting in May last year, the Town confirmed its contribution of $24 million to the harbour component of the marina, with the remaining $71 million from the State Government.

Town of Port Hedland commissioner Fred Riebeling said a key component of the Spoilbank Marina project was to ensure construction minimised impacts to the surrounding ecosystem and fauna, particularly the flatback turtle population.

The Spoilbank Marina will look to shore up the final design, release tenders, and begin construction as soon as possible after the project passed the Environmental Protection Authority, which found no need for a formal environmental assessment.

“The likely environmental effects of the proposal are not so significant as to warrant formal assessment because the existing environment is highly modified and the geographic extent and consequence of predicted impacts are predicted to be small,” the report said.

Additional parking bays, a grassed promenade and space for pop-up food and drink outlets will form part of the project, with plans currently split into two phases, with stage 1A to deliver critical infrastructure including new boat pens and a ramp, parking bays and recreation facilities.

Stage 1B will allow for the provision of pop-up food and drink outlets.

Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan said the Government had been working tirelessly to get the flagship Spoilbank Marina project to this point.

“Extensive studies have been carried out over the past six months to fast-track the environmental approvals process — turtle monitoring, coastal process studies, flora surveys and seabed analysis,” she said.

“This will mean that once detailed design is finished in the next month, we can move quickly to tender for construction for the marina — delivering this long-held dream for the Hedland community.”

Member for the Pilbara Kevin Michel said he was pleased to see the key election commitment come to fruition. n“The Spoilbank Marina will help to revitalise the West End as a commercial hub, create local jobs in construction, and deliver a fantastic facility for boaters and the broader community,” he said.

“Flatback turtle monitoring, undertaken by the Care for Hedland Environmental Association, has provided decision makers with valuable insights on how turtles move in the area.

“It found that small numbers of turtles are utilising the western side of the Spoilbank landform. The monitoring is proposed for a further two seasons post-construction of the marina.”

Mr Riebeling said one reason the Spoilbank Marina project was stopped in 2014 was concerns about local air quality impacts.

“Now, a dust management plan has been developed to minimise dust during the future construction phase,” he said.

“I’m pleased the project team are now working with the Commonwealth regulators to ensure matters of national environmental significance are not impacted during construction and operational phases.”

Pending a decision from the Federal Government’s environmental agency, work can begin once detailed design is complete, which should be by the end of the year.

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