Con­cerns on is­land ma­rina ex­clu­siv­ity

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News -

TOURISM Min­is­ter Kim Hames says he wants fewer than a quar­ter of a pro­posed 250-boat ma­rina to com­prise ex­clu­sive berths on Rot­tnest Is­land.

“At a guessti­mate, less than 25 per cent,” Dr Hames said.

Dr Hames said he em­pha­sised the Gov­ern­ment wanted as many berths as pos­si­ble for public and daily boaters’ use, when he opened a $240,000 seal view­ing plat­form at the is­land’s west end last Fri­day.

“I ab­so­lutely don’t want them (de­vel­op­ers) to sell off a large por­tion of berths, as they should be pri­or­ity use by day trip­pers,” he said.

Two days ear­lier, the Gov­ern­ment called for ex­pres­sions of in­ter­est for a ma­rina for large to small boats next to 100-150 units and to sup­ply barge fa­cil­i­ties at the south end of the is­land’s main Thom­son Bay.

Fre­man­tle MLA Si­mone McGurk, whose elec­torate in­cludes Rot­tnest Is­land, said there was a risk a ma­rina builder could say berths had to be sold or made ex­clu­sive for pro­ject vi­a­bil­ity.

“Will they be go­ing to be used by large craft, and peo­ple with money, and not for public ac­cess?” Ms McGurk said.

The seal view­ing plat­form marks half­way in con­struc­tion of the is­land’s 50km Wad­jemup walk trail, cost­ing $8.5 mil­lion to date, to which BHP-Bil­li­ton con­trib­uted $532,800 for fu­ture work on bush restora­tion, trail build­ing and signs by vol­un­teers, in­clud­ing the Rot­tnest Foun­da­tion.

“We never thought it would get this far, af­ter foun­da­tion founder Des Sul­li­van, who was is­land man­ager from 1960, said it was one of his dreams that there would be a com­plete net­work of walks around the is­land,” Foun­da­tion co-founder and Clare­mont res­i­dent Pat Bar­blett (83) said.

Thorn­lie Noon­gar woman Janet Hay­den, who greeted Dr Hames and Ms Bar­blett to the is­land, said the trail re­flected tra­di­tional paths used on the main­land be­fore coloni­sa­tion, but more work was needed on the is­land’s use as an Abo­rig­i­nal prison and ceme­tery.

“When our young­sters come over here and do a Welcome to Coun­try, there seems to be a peace and no anger any­more,” Ms Hay­den said.

Pic­tures: Jon Bas­sett

Rot­tnest Foun­da­tion co-founder Pat Bar­blett and Tourism Min­is­ter Kim Hames walk part of the Wad­jemup walk trail. Be­low: Janet Hay­den says more work is needed to re­pair the is­land's use of an Abo­rig­i­nal prison.

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