The State Administrative Tribunal has dismissed an application for review, submitted by Point Grey Development Company Pty Ltd against the Shire of Murray’s decision refusing an application for stage one earthworks for the marina development.
According to Shire President Cr. David Bolt, Council’s rejection of the application has been vindicated by the Tribunal’s decision, in that the Tribunal also raised concerns with the lack of details provided to assess the proposed development in the context of a marina.
“The decision stated that the current application ran counter to a disciplined, methodical, logical and systematic approach to the planning process,” Cr. Bolt said.
In April 2019, Council voted against a development application to commence preliminary earthworks for a marina at Point Grey, in the absence of dredging and management plans as well as financial modelling indications for sustainable dredging of a 2.5km channel.
Earthworks would have demonstrated substantial commencement of the development, thus locking in both State and Federal government environmental approvals.
These concerns were not addressed in a subsequent application made to the Shire of Murray and so, at the June 2019 meeting, Council refused the second application.
The developer lodged the application for review with the Tribunal following Council’s April decision.
“The Shire has been under intense pressure in considering the application. However, the overwhelming community support received and concerns expressed regarding the lack of detailed plans to ensure adequate protection of the precious Peel-Harvey Estuary, helped to harden Council’s resolve.
“We plan to continue to ensure we scrutinise all details of this development, even though the State and Federal Governments have given the project an environmental green light.
“I am relieved that the State Administrative Tribunal shared our very real concerns, particularly in terms of the initial stages of the marina which would have locked in environmental approvals even though the adequate plans were not presented to ensure ongoing protection of the estuary and the fragile environment,” Cr. Bolt said.
Cr. Bolt stated that the issue still has a long way to go, given that the developers can submit a development application for the full marina and navigation channel, to a State Joint Development Assessment Panel, rendering decision-making outside the Shire’s control.
“I remain particularly concerned that State and Federal government agencies can make such critical decisions to proceed with these types of developments, yet leave the responsibility, environmental risk and potential financial impost to the Shire of Murray and ultimately its ratepayers.
“Having no control over the ultimate decision but being expected to assume all of the long-term risk and responsibility is of serious concern to our Council.
“I remain hopeful the developer might consider a more appropriate proposal for this piece of land,” Cr. Bolt said.