The West Australian exclusive

Hotly debated Smiths Beach coastal village development proposal now open for public comment

Breanna RedheadBusselton Dunsborough Times
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Public consultation for the proposed Smith’s Beach coastal village development has opened, with opposition heating up on one of the biggest commercial projects the region has seen in a decade.
Camera IconPublic consultation for the proposed Smith’s Beach coastal village development has opened, with opposition heating up on one of the biggest commercial projects the region has seen in a decade. Credit: Supplied

Public consultation for the proposed $280 million Smith’s Beach coastal village development has opened, allowing the community to have their say on one of the biggest commercial projects the region has seen in a decade.

Running for six weeks, the public will be able to give feedback on the 1000-page development application document which the Smith’s Beach Project team are calling the “most detailed” look into the proposed site.

A spokesperson from the SBP team said after months of work, the consultation is “warmly welcomed”.

“This is an opportunity for all interested Western Australians to have their say on this important new tourism asset for the South West, as well as providing an opportunity to support quality tourism experiences, long-term skilled jobs, and new local community infrastructure,” they said.

“The Smiths Beach Project documents are the most detailed application for a tourism-led project in the South West; with every proposed building in the coastal village fully designed by a team of seven leading Australian architectural and landscape design practices.”

The proposed design will overlook the picturesque Smiths Beach.
Camera IconThe proposed design will overlook the picturesque Smiths Beach. Credit: supplied
A new look at the proposed Smiths Beach development.
Camera IconA new look at the proposed Smiths Beach development. Credit: supplied

Along with the documentation, four new rendered images showing inside the hotel have also been released to give the public an immersive look at what the development will look like upon completion.

The 40 hectare design is set to feature 65 room hotel, 36 camping spots, 61 homes, a Cape to Cape Welcome Centre, community hub, surf lifesaving facilities and public amenities, all working with the natural environment on a landscape-led design.

The site also looks to donate 40 per-cent of the land to the adjacent Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park to expand it’s grounds.

Inside the proposed Smith's Beach development.
Camera IconInside the proposed Smith's Beach development. Credit: supplied
Inside the proposed hotel at Smith's Beach.
Camera IconInside the proposed hotel at Smith's Beach. Credit: supplied

But despite the excitement around the announcement, its opposition is concerned the consultation is pre-emptive of an environmental protection authority assessment of the site, commissioned in May of this year and set to be completed some time next year.

Smith’s Beach action group lobbyist David Mitchel said the new design “blatantly flouts” EPA decisions.

“The community’s concerns have been realised with this development proposal,” he said.

“This development makes a mockery of the current planning laws, existing environmental policy and is a crucial moment for the future of the South West coastline.

“The legacy of this process and development could be a financial windfall for the developer at the expense of planning and environmental rules that are supposed to ensure a sustainable and community supported development at Smiths Beach.

“The Smiths Beach movement is more than saving one fragile piece of our coastline, it’s also about upholding the rules-based planning system that this developer is working to bypass.”

The SBP team said they remained “confident” the design possesses a “significant environmental improvement” to the previous proposal of the site, which received EPA environmental approval in 2009.

The application can be viewed here.

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