Vi­sion for old town adds hope

Pilbara News - - Front Page - Tom Zaun­mayr

Cos­sack land own­ers at the end of their tether are hope­ful a new, in­dige­nous or­gan­i­sa­tion-backed vi­sion will fi­nally bring an end to decades of failed de­vel­op­ment plans for the his­toric ghost town.

The City of Kar­ratha re­cently signed a three-year ex­ten­sion to its lease with the State Gov­ern­ment to work on plans for the fu­ture of Cos­sack, 35 years af­ter putting a mora­to­rium on de­vel­op­ment pend­ing a master plan for the town.

There is re­newed op­ti­mism among land own­ers in Ngar­luma Yind­jibarndi Foun­da­tion’s plans for the precinct, which in­clude turn­ing Cos­sack into a liv­ing historical vil­lage, but should this fail to ma­te­ri­alise own­ers have said enough is enough.

Terry Pat­ter­son has been at the fore­front of the fight since pur­chas­ing land in the 1990s.

Mr Pat­ter­son said he was re­signed to the fact he would likely never see any build­ing on his land in his life, but held hope his chil­dren could re­alise his dream.

“It does wipe you out both men­tally and phys­i­cally,” he said.

“I’ve never in 18 years been in­volved with so much bulls... in my life. The kids might be able to build, it is their her­itage, but we just want the right thing done.”

City of Kar­ratha Mayor Peter

The kids might be able to build, it is their her­itage, but we just want the right thing done. Terry Pat­ter­son

Long said he was hope­ful the new Gov­ern­ment would be co-op­er­a­tive in giv­ing landown­ers some­thing to work with.

“While there are clearly some sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenges to de­vel­op­ing at Cos­sack, in­clud­ing the lack of ser­vices to the town, flood risks and the need to com­ple­ment the ex­ist­ing her­itage build­ings, coun­cil has spent a lot of time over the years try­ing to build a frame­work which would en­able suit­able and site-sen­si­tive de­vel­op­ment to take place,” he said.

“Pri­vate landown­ers have been gen­er­ally sup­port­ive of these plans; how­ever, pro­gress­ing a way for­ward with the State Gov­ern­ment has been prob­lem­atic.”

Landowner Alan Wil­son was blunt when asked if he had faith in any­thing fur­ther be­ing achieved un­der the lease ex­ten­sion.

“Given the track record no, no faith what­so­ever,” he said.

“How­ever, hav­ing talked to some of the peo­ple from NYFL, they have given me some real hope.

“This group have got a busi­ness plan, they have been able to sell the busi­ness plan, and they have the back­ing of the City of Kar­ratha.”

Mr Wil­son said he would be will­ing to for­give the long-run­ning dis­pute if de­vel­op­ment got off the ground.

Pil­bara MLA Kevin Michel said the past deal­ings be­tween the gov­ern­ment and Cos­sack stake­hold­ers had been un­for­tu­nate.

He said Cos­sack and Dampier had ma­jor roles to play in build­ing tourism in the Pil­bara.

NYFL did not re­spond by time of print.

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