Proposed New Structure Plan
As at December 2018, Aigle has completed the first stage, but now requires approval for the next stage. A Structure Plan has been submitted to Busselton City Council who notes it is not compliant with guidelines of State Planning Policy 2.6 – Coastal Development, specifically in relation to storm surge and predicted sea levels. In effect BCC wishes to prescribe a finished floor level for future residential blocks of 3.8 metres above Australian Height Datum (AHD) compared to current and previous development of 2.75m AHD. This has stalled the next stage of Newport, and indeed other residential developments in Port Geographe Precinct.
PGLOA is concerned that this current stand-off will create investor uncertainty to the extent that development at Port Geographe may once again be stalled. This would depress property prices and rateable values and tarnish the image of Port Geographe, which is one of the jewels in the crown of the City of Busselton. It would be a tragedy if the current development lapsed because of overly prescriptive and unrealistic regulations.
PGLOA has made a formal submission to BCC as part of the processing of the Structure Plan. Its conclusions are:
- State Planning Policy 2.6 – State Coastal Planning Policy 2013 is out of date in regard to measuring and forecasting sea-level rise, and does not provide a suitable guide to developments in different coastal segments of Western Australia, specifically Busselton.
- Provision for a one-in-500-year ARI event is taking the precautionary principle to unjustified extremes. The 100-year ARI event is much more consistent with the likely replacement time- frame for all buildings in Busselton, and even then it can be overly precautionary in some situations.
- Recent satellite altimetry gives no evidence for any acceleration in sea-level change, and therefore provides no justification for choosing the upper confidence bounds of the high emission scenario of the IPCC.
- The application of a blanket increment of 0.9 metres for future sea level rise over the next century for the whole of the WA coast is clearly erroneous, considering the tectonic tilting of the Australian continent.
- The IPCC suite of CMIP computer models in the entire sequence of Assessment Reports since 1991 have been consistently wrong when tested against factual data; therefore they cannot be relied upon as a tool for formulating important coastal management policy.
- The likely rise of sea levels in Geographe Bay over the next 100 years, based on empirical observations such as tide records of Bunbury Port (0.12m/century), does not justify a major planning response that threatens the disruption of the social and economic fabric of Port Geographe, and indeed all of Busselton.
- The prescription of a 3.8m AHD for future residences in Port Geographe will likely disrupt current and future development plans in the precinct, tarnish the image of Port Geographe and destroy landowner wealth, for no beneficial outcomes.
- BCC should use its discretionary powers to come to a sensible and realistic decision on new block elevations, which should equate 2.8m AHD.
The full submission can be seen here.
In May 2015, Aigle Royal Pty Ltd purchased the rights to the incomplete Port Geographe development from the official receiver, following the liquidation of the previous developer Saracen JV. Aigle Royal has commenced its New Port Geographe Development.
This is of particular relevance to PGLOA because the new development lies within the SAR catchment zone. Consequently over time this will add to local amenities, and of course continue to build the Waterway Reserve Management Fund.
The early plan was presented to members of PGLOA at the AGM in August 2015, by Mr Brad Bradshaw, General Manager Land Developments Aigle Royal Pty Ltd. That presentation can be accessed here by courtesy of Aigle Royal.
In summary, this development abandons the old ten-stage canal and lake concept of the previous developers, in favour of a mix of mostly dry lots (about 580), some canal lots (approx 120) and expanded public open space. It is a ten-year plan.
Whilst PGLOA would liked to have seen a higher ratio of canal lots, it recognises the statements of Aigle Royal that a greater emphasis on dry lots would greatly reduce the up-front capital costs, and reduce the ongoing costs of maintaining water quality in the lakes and canals.
Progress can be tracked via Aigle Royal website