Note: This development was approved by the JDAP in October, 2020. It was referred to the Federal EPA and the EPA on December 1, 2020 allowed the land clearance. The developer has now decided to change the building plans and it is back to the City for approval. You can see and comment on the new plans here. The deadline is October October 15. The City says no additiional land will be cleared. One assumes no less land will be cleared as well.
80m of Caves Rd trees to go, along with endangered species habitat
Eighty metres of trees along Caves road will be axed as a result of a decision taken Friday, October 9, by the Development Assessment Panel (DAP). The state body, that includes councillors Henley and Carter decided unanimously to approve a 58 chalet holiday development between Country Life Farm and Cape Villas. The trees will go to make way for a turning lane into the development.
The development will involve the destruction of 75% of the habitat of the critically endangered western ringtail possum and 68% of the critically endangered Baudin’s cockatoo habitat. Two possums were found in the trees along Caves Road and two trees were identified as potential Cockatoo breeding sites. The site is also possible habitat for the critically endangered Dunsborough Crayfish. Dugalup Brook has not been investigated but they have been found in the area. There was no attempt made to look for this creature on the site.
The Dunsborough Progress Association argued that the development be sent to both state and federal departments of environment for assessment. If it gets approval, the group suggested the road be moved a few metres to the south on to gravel verge on the opposite side of the road in order to save the trees. The owner, who is the CEO of Tamala Park Regional Council and a member of a Perth DAP, said it would be too expensive but then confirmed he didn’t know what it would cost.
The owner surprised the panel by saying he has already submitted the development to the Federal Department of the Environment to determine whether it needs assessment under the environmental protection act. The public will have a chance to comment, if it catches the 10 day window. Because the panel gave the development the nod, it gets an exemption loophole and will not require state assessment for land clearance.
The development is counter to the City’s policy, LPP 4.6, regarding visible development along that stretch of Caves Road and the panel made a condition that the developer plant a screen where the trees will be removed.
After the decision Mayor Henley praised the development saying it will provide needed diversity of accomodation