Port plan picked apart

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Geoff VivianGeraldton Guardian
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Geraldton Port. File picture: The West Australian.
Camera IconGeraldton Port. File picture: The West Australian. Credit: The West Australian

The City of Greater Geraldton says increased erosion, traffic hold-ups, dust, noise, and placing the Oakajee project on hold are among the issues not properly addressed in the WA Government’s Draft Geraldton Port Master Plan.

This week, councillors endorsed a seven-page submission City staff prepared, taking the Government to task on many parts of the draft plan.

When he moved to support the submission, Cr Victor Tanti said the Mid West Port Authority did not appear to have conducted its own Coastal Hazard Risk Management and Adaptation Plan.

State planning policy requires all coastal shires and towns to have one.

“This surely needs to be done given these proposals for expanding the port, reclaiming land and building the new road alongside Port Grey,” Cr Tanti said. “It is possible that expansion of the port could further impact natural processes that transport sand to our northern beaches.

“There are other concerns such as potentially closing Marine Terrace Railway Crossing, and the potential noise and the visual impact of unloading and transporting equipment.”

Cr Tanti said the council disagreed with the port authority about the Oakajee Narngulu Industrial Corridor.

“The port authority says there’s no commitment to the ONIC, and our submission points out that there is,” he said. Cr Steve Douglas said without Oakajee, he was concerned the existing port would be left to grow “organically” from its present tonnage of 16 million each year to beyond its current capacity of 28 million.

“We could end up with 50 million tonnes per annum coming out of our port,” he said. “If we don’t start looking at the long-term future it’s going to evolve to something I don’t think this community is going to want to live with.”

Cr Robert Hall urged councillors to stay vigilant when dealing with the authority.

“This is a major corporate entity that we’re dealing with,” he said. “We have to maintain an awful lot of pressure to make sure they maintain their corporate responsibilities because they sit right on the pivotal point in this community.”

Ports Minister Alannah MacTiernan said the draft plan mapped potential development and infrastructure to accommodate growth over the next five, 10 and 30 years.

“At this stage these are just potential developments,” she said, adding there would be consultation before go-ahead.

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