The Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA WA) has welcomed the latest assessment decision by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) calling it a win for common-sense and a move that will open up much needed affordable land for urban development in Mandogalup, located in the southern metropolitan growth corridor.

“EPA advice this week ended a long running controversy over a proposed 1.5km non-residential buffer zone to the Alcoa residue areas in Mandogalup,” UDIA WA CEO Allison Hailes said. “A buffer of that size is simply not required and would only be detrimental to residents and landowners in the local area.”

“Calls for the buffer from big industry bodies such as Alcoa and the Kwinana Industries Council (KIC) were based on the potential for dust impacts in the area, and were clearly unfounded and not based on any sort of scientific evidence,” Ms Hailes said.

“The EPA has conducted rigorous scientific assessment of potential health and amenity impacts and concluded that over most of East and South East Mandogalup, the air quality is in no way a cause for concern.  The EPA has also consulted widely in making its advice.”

“The buffer would have unnecessarily sterilised up to 300 hectares of what is potentially prime residential land in Mandogalup with a capacity to deliver an additional 4,300 homes to the market,” Ms Hailes said. “It is vital that the Government now acts quickly to progress the urban rezoning in this area.”

“Rezoning has been stalled for over a decade, with the WAPC proposing the rezoning of land in Mandogalup to urban back in 2006,” Ms Hailes said. “Mandogalup is earmarked for future housing in the WAPC endorsed Jandakot District Structure Plan and is ideally located for affordable housing located in close proximity to public transport, services and amenities in the Southern Metropolitan Corridor.”

“Moving forward, we hope that industry will heed the EPA advice and contain any emissions on site where possible and limit any impingement on the potential for residential development,” Ms Hailes said.

“There is a lesson here that measures such as buffers should only be based on rigorous, evidence-based scientific and technical assessments to determine the nature and extent of any potential impacts,” Ms Hailes said.  “This ongoing debate has delayed residential development of areas in Mandogalup for far too long.”

“We need to ensure that decision making around issues such as buffer zones is based on consideration of the best use of land and taking into account long term planning objectives and local community aspirations,” Ms Hailes said.

“The sort of delays experienced in Mandogalup have serious financial and community impacts on landowners, residents and the broader population,” Ms Hailes said.