Ratepayers decry buffer zone plans

Taylar AmoniniNorth West Telegraph
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The Port Hedland Dust Management Taskforce Report has been labelled “diabolical” by the Port Hedland Ratepayers Association.

One of the recommendations of the report, which has been 10 years in the making, is the establishment of a “special control area” with a cap placed on the number of permanent residents and new developments in the West End area.

Outlined in the report as the area west of Taplin Street, ratepayers’ association spokesman Arnold Carter said one of the biggest issues the association had was the lack of definition around the potential buffer zone.

“That’s our biggest concern, the buffer zone starts with this minimum, then they’ll find excuse after excuse to keep extending it and next thing you know it will be out to Pretty Pool,” he said.

“There’s no guarantee that a person will be able to buy a piece of land and build on it in the future.”

Port Hedland Chamber of Commerce president Jim Henneberry said the chamber was formulating a response to the recommendation.

However, speaking as an independent real estate agent, he said he was dubious of the recommendations being endorsed.

VideoDaniel Emery, a local resident, drove up to the giant dust storm in Port Hedland and was met with a wall of Biblical proportions

Mr Henneberry compared the West End buffer zone to that in Perth’s Kwinana industrial area and said it would devalue homes and make it harder for home owners to develop, sell and grow their properties, and the community.

“I don’t think the recommendations will be adopted in their entirety, especially this buffer zone because if they do, who then pays the compensation to land owners having their property rights taken off of them,” he said.

“It will take billions of dollars and the State Government does not have that. Therefore the only other thing to do is stop the pollution.

“The only way to stop the pollution and let the port and exports continue to grow is to move future stockpiles inland near Boodarie, then they have everything they want ... and we have clean air.”

In the wake of the report, shadow assistant resources minister Tim Hammond was to meet with business leaders and property owners in the West End this week.

VideoA shiploader pours iron ore into a vessel docked at Anderson Point in Port Hedland.

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