Big stink over seaweed

Jackson Lavell-LeeBusselton Dunsborough Times
Email Jackson Lavell-Lee
Seawrack build-up along the Port Geographe coast
Camera IconSeawrack build-up along the Port Geographe coast Credit: Busselton Dunsborough Times, Sarah Ison

A campaign by residents for action on the reconfiguration of Port Geographe has generated a groundswell of support.

Residents believe the 2013 Port Geographe Reconfiguration Project completed by the Department of Transport has not alleviated the accumulation of seagrass wrack and annual dredging strengthens the pungent odour.

A public meeting has been organised by disgruntled homeowners and the City of Busselton for next week to address the issue.

The department had previously informed residents the $28.5 million project would take more than four years to reduce the accumulation of wrack naturally on the western beach.

But Port Geographe resident Cheryl Scott said the reconfiguration had cost her home a beachfront and the issue of seagrass build-up had not been solved five years after completion.

“It’s a nightmare. It’s devalued our property,” she said. “The smell is constant and has only increased since they built the groyne.

“They (DoT) don’t listen to us, what a waste of money that was.”

Port Geographe Landowners Association secretary Peter Brinsden wrote in last week’s suburb newsletter, Waters Edge, the committee believed that the port entrance would require dredging twice per year.

“Although we are disturbed with the lack of quantitative reporting by the DoT in their periodic updates, we believe the dredging is being done effectively and with careful consideration for coastal management,” he said.

DoT maritime general manager Steve Jenkins said the Department remained committed to delivering the best outcome for the coastline.

“DoT and the City of Busselton are in discussions about addressing some of the community concerns and are working in partnership to implement maintenance works,” he said. “Prior to and throughout the reconfiguration project, DoT worked closely with the community and will continue to provide regular updates when possible.”

He said representatives from the department would attend the meeting.

However, a spokesperson for the Minister for Transport, Rita Saffioti, said she would not attend.

City of Busselton Mayor Grant Henley said both DoT and the City were continuing to monitor the wrack accumulation and test for odour.

“If works are needed to facilitate access and amenity this may be undertaken by the City of Busselton, if supported by the DoT, or the DoT who has management responsibility for the beach area,” he said.

Dredging maintenance work has continued as wrack levels once again reached more than 60,000 cubic metres.

Mr Henley said the City would advocate for residents concerned about the impact of seagrass accumulation.

“The City continues to argue that the target volume should be reduced to 10,000 cubic metres,” he said.

The public meeting will be held at 10am on December 8 at the Freycinet Drive carpark.

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