Public Comment on City of Joondalup’s Major Land Transaction ORM Lot 1029 and 1032

The submission closing date is 19th April, 2021.


Read the full Comment

I am writing in regards to the Heads of Agreement Business Plan for the City of Joondalup’s Major Land Transaction ORM Lot 1029 and 1032 for $1 to the state government.

  • This business plan for the transfer of 11.7ha of land for $1 is an onerous economic burden and liability for current and future ratepayers and taxpayers.
  • 15% of City of Joondalup residences (8% of residents) ticked the one question for the 2009 survey question for an upgrade on the existing boat harbour site but not at any cost
  • We are concerned that City of Joondalup (CoJ) have proceeded with this development unaware that the consults for the Environmental Protection Agency, commissioned with our money said there would be total destruction of the richest abalone reef and all bottom living marine life inside the marina, 70m around the breakwater and 500m of the abalone reef to the north. City of Joondalup have not kept themselves and councillors informed of the environmental destruction.(Minutes of 16 Feb 21 pg xix Questions – https://api.joondalup.wa.gov.au/files/councilmeetings/2021/CJ210216_MIN.pdf, ORM EPA Report – https://www.epa.wa.gov.au/sites/default/files/EPA_Report/Ocean%20Reef%20Marina%20-%20EPA%20Report%201629.pdf)
  • The Tonkin Government in 1972 proclaimed Marmion Marine Park to stop the continued coastal development because the local impacts of dredging and blasting are not in fact local but widespread with future cost implications.
  • Today with our better understanding of these environmental implications we know the coastal processes can never be accurately predicted. Numerous coastal development projects in WA, although EPA approved have demonstrated how unintended environmental consequences place a massive financial burden on tax and ratepayers. We should not be building on the coast and a reef.
  • This business plan puts no value on this Aboriginal cultural loss or value for tourism. It is disappointing you pay your respects to traditional owners past and present but you are condoning the desecration of the best remaining example of their traditional way of coastal living and mobility, tribal hunting and gathering grounds, ceremonial and sacred coastal limestone cliffs just because it did not have a registered site on it. The public have refuted your client driven, single focus heritage report because of the artefacts present and the existing documentation of the significance of the site to Aboriginal people including the City’s own Joondalup Mooro Boodja brochure (https://www.joondalup.wa.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Joondalup-Mooro-Boodjar.pdf). You have hidden behind this non-public report to progress the development, paying Noongar people on this project in the most menial way to absolve your moral responsibility. The external mental health cost from desecration of our natural and Aboriginal heritage is not considered by our governments. These are irreplaceable assets for Joondalup, attract tourists and keep us local and healthy.
  • this business plan fails to follow City of Joondalup’s strategic plans
  • continuing with a development because it has been planned for 30 years is no reason to continue if it does not align with your strategic plan or present community values (Community Coastal Values Survey 2018, Nth of Boat Harbour).
  • the marina was described as BushForever 325 in 2000, it was classified as Class A Reserve for conservation.
  • The City of Joondalup endorsed Biodiversity Plan highlights that Joondalup has over-cleared. You signed an international treaty in 2008 as a global city to protect biodiversity. The City of Joondalup have disregarded this by putting more housing on valuable greenfill.
  • We are witnessing the destruction of more environmentally sensitive area, highly biodiverse and one many people care for and enjoy. Consult with volunteers who work tirelessly to maintain the integrity of the Bush Forever 325 coastal ecological linkage has been dismissive. There is no attempt at a wildlife overpass by DevelopmentWA. If this development proceeds, the cost for this wildlife overpass should be added to this business plan as an expense for ratepayers. Preferably, the city should negotiate this before any land transfer occurs.
  • Users of the coast at Ocean Reef were consulted in 2018 on the value of the coast and how you should manage it for us.
  • You allowed DevelopmentWa continue with this development despite this.
  • The community said no to housing at ORM in 2002 but you went ahead planning for a marina until a survey was crafted for the result you wanted in 2009.
  • You are asking all ratepayers to bear the cost of maintaining the public open space at the marina development where there is barely enough open space for the 3000 new residents. This development is little more than a private canal housing development.
  • The revenue from lease by both the Marine Rescue Whitfords and the Ocean Reef Sea Sports Club is documented as increasing from the present $60k per annum to $308k. Although the $60k figure is in the business plan, the CoJ were asked in the February OCM what the current rent from ORSCC was and replied $3,758.58.
  • The two clubs (possibly not for profit) are to receive new facilities away from their prime location, back to the main Ocean Reef Drive. This cost is not documented. ORSSC will be relocated away from the water to near Ocean Reef Drive. We fail to see how this club is anticipated to grow when the number of boat ramps remains at 8 and a location away from the water and other commercial areas? A commercial venture with the City and the ORSSC is documented in the business plan. The 5 times revenue from the 2 clubs in the business plan could be based on a commercial venture by City of Joondalup that is undecided? 1
  • A further $4.5m has to be spent on public open space infrastructure including parking meters before revenue flows from parking fees.
  • The mayor and majority of councillors did not know the current state of carparking fees at Hillarys Boat Harbour or the present Ocean Reef Boat Harbour. City of Joondalup said that boat trailer parking will now be controlled by the marina manager, Department of Transport, not City of Joondalup. So where will most carparking fees come from, fines? How can you honestly expect to activate this location if you charge for car parking Please note, paid parking at both Hilary’s and Ocean reef today is ONLY for boat trailer parking. If normal car parking fees were introduced at Hillarys the already strained addressable market for business, there would be further strained.
  • We have no confidence in both these forecast revenues which will be the only revenue for many years. The business plan revenue must be independently reviewed when you decide on what you will pursue and cannot be endorsed for the land transfer.
  • The Coast adapt program2 is a federal initiative that considers climate change assessing the potential inputs and consequences of coastal developments. The City are aware that the CHRMAP has identified the development area and adjacent zones as at risk from inundation due to sea level rise/ storm surge events. Although claims are made that environmental cell-based studies have been conducted, it’s clear that the level of investigation warranted for this project has not been engaged.
  • The studies for the breakwater that City of Joondalup commissioned for the EPA assessment are insufficient for the community to take on the liability for the uncertainty of building a huge breakwater will cost of managing its effect on surrounding beaches and infrastructure.
  • The business plan only assesses the potential liability from altering the sand flow around the breakwater but not the wider impacts. Who is going to pay in perpetuity? You have told us DevelopmentWA is responsible for this cost, DevelopmentWA have said it is the cost and responsibility of the Marina Manager of which there is none. But what organisation would take on this marina management with this expected cost and the unforeseen risks? If the true cost for maintaining this marina was charged to those wanting to store their boat there, it would not be a viable concern.
  • City of Joondalup commissioned most of the studies presented to the EPA for assessment. If these are found to be inadequate what liability does City of Joondalup have?
  • To date DevelopmentWA are refusing residents dilapidation reports of their nearby properties. City of Joondalup have not pursued this with DevelopmentWA. The original plans were to source all the rock for the breakwater from the site. Now all the 900ktons of rock is to be brought in 300 trucks a day for 10 hours a day, 6 days a week for one year. Will City of Joondalup be liable for damage to properties, which is already occurring? It is not in this business plan.
  • We are particularly concerned of the impact to Mullaloo Beach with the Beenyup wastewater outfall hitting the huge breakwater and sand accumulation and directing the pollution on to this beach, into the marina entrance and generally reduced dispersion because of the barriers.
  • We are concerned of the expected sand accumulation on the Mullaloo side of the breakwater causing changes to wave action, currents and rips at Mullaloo Beach and the possibility of having to construct protective rock groynes. This has not been considered in the studies and reports for the EPA assessment. Will City of Joondalup pay for ongoing remediation costs to Mullaloo Beach?
  • We are concerned for the ongoing cost to infrastructure repair because of the expected loss of sand from the beach on the northern side of the breakwater where inundation from the sea was expected to almost reach Resolute Way in 90 years. This was the prediction before a breakwater was going in, but the protective vegetation and sand dunes have now been removed for the development. If a storm event occurs before sand is physically transported to this vulnerable beach, then infrastructure damage to City of Joondalup paths, roads could well occur. Has the cost of early active retreat management been factored in this business plan because of this uncertainty? The state government has made it clear they will not pay.
  • There are very few marinas you can swim in. But this marina has Australia’s 6th worst nutrient polluted waste water outfall with the first diffuser only 300-400m from a huge breakwater. How will a polluted ocean pool and little public open space effect carparking revenue for the city? This risk has not been considered in the business plan.
  • Where is the ongoing data and analysis for the nutrient pollution of the groundwater outflow into the marina over and above the small number of bore samples taken? This will have a major effect on water quality in the marina as DevlopmentWA expected this polluted fresh water to flush the marina. Why aren’t the associated water quality remedial costs in this business plan? Removing native vegetation and landscaping with lawn will exacerbate this problem and directly affect the marina managers costs for remediation.
  • The 2019 -2020 Watercorp sampling at Beenyup wastewater outfall showed 2 days of chlorophyll levels above acceptable. With predictions of increasing water temperature, less diffusion for the Beenyup wastewater because of an enormous breakwater, we may not be able to swim at Mullaloo beach on the hottest days let alone the marina. It is easy to ban swimming, but the sea life can’t escape as we have seen in Cockburn Sound with algal blooms. Are there remedial costs in this business plan? The outer reef still has rich lobster stocks. We do not want to risk decimation of these like the crabs in Cockburn sound. This risk should have been considered in a risk analysis in the business plan.
  • The huge breakwater will be built on the 43-year-old Beenyup outfall pipe with only a few more years of life. Watercorp have said it is your responsibility not to damage it. This is a huge liability I do not want to accept with even the best studies which I don’t think have been done, cannot predict what might happen here. Why has this risk not been assessed and predicted costs published in the business plan as a scenario?
  • This development has been marketed as world class and vibrant. Please explain to the public how it is world class and vibrant as the lack of risk and cost benefit analysis shows it to be an economic liability and possibly a world class folly. The blue-sky marketing may well have deceived the public into allowing the marina construction to proceed and placing an onerous economic burden and liability on current and future ratepayers and taxpayers.
  • We are extremely disappointed by the misdirection and false marketing ploys used by council and its associated partners (Development WA) with artists impressions of the coast with surf breaks and vistas of the ocean with no breakwater from the paths, lots of public open space compared to housing. This of course is what we want to see but not what the marina will deliver.
  • You have allowed DevelopmentWa, with an access permit only to clear precious bushland, build roads placing a potential large economic liability on ratepayers if the desecration at Ocean Reef is stopped because of any one of the many reasons it should be eg significant site to Aboriginal people, outstanding approved plans, no marina manager, no business plan for a major trading undertaking, lack of transparency and accountability, unfit fake beach and marina pool for use.
  • In 2002 you wanted a commercial return on your investment for buying 45 acres at Ocean Reef for $500,000 in 1979. This business plan should be cost neutral, we insist on a land sale price to realise this and reduce our burden for decades to come.

Details not included in the business plan

  1. An evaluation of the lost opportunities there are for the parcel of land being sold for only $1 is missing from the business plan.
  2. A fully disclosed financial justification and social impact assessment for the whole of the development, land and marine. This should have been prepared and advertised once City of Joondalup had spent $2m as the initial, lead and only proponent of the development. This is a major breach of the Local Government Act 3.59 and lack of accountability and transparency for the community to make informed decisions on this development.
  3. Independent financial risk assessment by experienced assessors in marina and land reclamation developments. See following comments why not doing this is a reckless disregard for ratepayers.
  4. This business plan is required to assess the impact to local businesses from the ORM competition. Both Hilarys Boat Harbour and Mindarie Marina have not been considered and do not want the direct competition of the ORM when they have empty pens and commercial space.
  5. The length of time this marina will take to construct and the lack of any proven or validated demand for pens is concerning. The likelihood is that a small number of pens (possibly around 50) could be constructed to attract early leasees. Unfortunately, until hundreds of pens are occupied commercial marina services including, lifters and fuel bowsers won’t be cost justified. This will mean that the small number of penned vessels and the early stages of little or no residences constructed will make this location a nightmare for security and anti-social behaviour falling on council and DOT to run continuous security operations. Where are these costs in the business plan?
  6. The $5.5million of ratepayers’ money already spent on plans and studies for the development are not in this business plan because it appears more favourable to the community with scanning this business plan. This is a deliberate misrepresentation of the true financial cost and would not see a breakeven point to well beyond the 2054 envisaged. No commercial business would be able to “ignore” and extinguish this cost, it was real rate payer’s money spent on a range of very expensive consultants, it can’t simply be written off. This needs to be included in a revised business plan and a better deal sought for ratepayers on land price.
  7. The implication from not increasing rates when $10m ($5.5m spent so far and not included and $4.5m required) of ratepayers’ money is spent to get the ORM to a stage of realising revenue. Are services and jobs to go or will City of Joondalup eat into reserves or sell more green space?
  8. Ratepayers and the community need this to be included in the business plan before it can be endorsed for the major land transfer
  9. The loss of jobs from those whose livelihoods depends on this reef.
  10. A full cost benefit analysis rather than a selective one as in this business plan which misleads the public.
  11. The business plan does not assess the financial implication of losing our nearby natural assets for tourism, health benefits, cost to residents having to go elsewhere to find areas for this recreation, protection of the coast from coastal processes:
    1. Active recreation health benefits
      1. Walk out world class snorkelling reef,
      2. two surf breaks,
      3. Scenic shared path for active recreation will be relocated behind built environment with 7 hazardous roads to cross.
    2. Liveability, cultural identity
    3. Picturesque cliff backed beaches for retreat
    4. Richest abalone reef in WA provides a unique recreation and food
    5. 120,000 yoa fossilized rocks that are an analogue of climate change and should remain in perpetuity for education and curiosity
    6. Diversity of birds and animals that are internationally recognised
    7. Outer reef rock lobster stocks will further decrease for local fishermen, from the Impact of 750 extra boats.

We request that the City prepare a business plan for the land transfer that:

  • Confirms who is responsible for the transfer of sand build up and remediation from the breakwater, ratepayers or taxpayers?
  • Includes the implication to Hilary’s boat harbour and Mindarie Marina businesses.
  • Includes the lost opportunities from selling this land for $1.
  • Assesses the financial loss from locals having to go elsewhere for surfing, swimming, snorkelling, bird watching, recreation with nature.
  • Sures up car parking charges at ORM.
  • Sures up it’s commercial revenue from the ORSCC.
  • Reduces the financial burden and liability for ratepayers.
  • Does not sell the 11+ha for $1.
  • Has been reviewed by an external independent financial consultant with expertise and experience in marina and reclaimed land developments, to undertake a peer review of the Business Plan with the results made available to the public as part of the Business Plan consultation process.