Council refers floor level decision

Sophie ElliottBusselton Dunsborough Times

The City of Busselton has referred a decision on the appropriate height of finished floor levels for a proposed development in Geographe to the State Planning Authority.

Developer Aigle Royal’s revised structure plan for Newport Geographe proposed a minimum finished floor level of 2.5m, based on the report Interaction of Coastal and Catchment Floods for Determining Port Geographe Finished Floor Levels.

However, due to Newport Geographe’s vulnerability to ocean and estuarine flooding, advice to the council from State agencies, including the Department of Transport, suggested that the appropriate finished floor level be increased to a minimum of 3.8m to enable protection of the development from coastal processes over the 100-year planning timeframe.

At Wednesday night’s meeting, the council determined supporting technical documents to the revised application did not provide an adequate assessment of the proposal against the State Coastal Planning Policy.

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The State Coastal Planning Policy provides guidance for decision-making along the coast, particularly in relation to coastal erosion and coastal inundation.

The council’s move to delegate a decision on the issue to the Western Australian Planning Commission was prompted by Aigle Royal advising the project would not be able to economically meet the 3.8m requirement suggested by State agencies.

The council is requesting that the commission investigate the structure plan further and potentially consider an outcome with a higher finished floor level than the 2.5m minimum proposed by the applicant, but lower than the 3.8m advised by the State agencies.

Reasons listed by city officers for the commission to consider a lower finished floor level include it being reasonably likely that an alternative means of addressing the flood risk will emerge, and the risk the development of Port Geographe as a whole will stall if the development does not continue to completion in a timely fashion.

It is also considered applying the State Coastal Planning Policy without broader consideration could lead to investor uncertainty.

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