A four-decade long battle over the right to develop land in the historic Pilbara ghost town of Cossack could soon be at an end, with the City of Karratha voting in favour of important planning scheme amendments. At the February 28 council meeting, councillors resolved to adopt two scheme amendments for Cossack and Jarman Island which could see a special control area and special use zones introduced. Part of council’s resolution for Cossack included supporting the recommended modifications to include privately-held lots. The scheme amendments seek to activate Cossack and Jarman Island through the consideration of low impact tourism developments and land use activity while addressing the requirements of state planning policies for coastal hazard risk, bushfire hazard risk, heritage conservation and utility servicing requirements. A final decision for both amendments, including any modifications, will be made by the Minister for Planning Rita Saffioti. The City received more than 20 submissions during the scheme amendments’ advertising period, with key issues relating to private landowners and their interest in how the proposal affected their properties. City of Karratha Mayor Peter Long said private landowners had communicated their exclusion from any developments was “not fair”. “We said yep, fair enough so we’ve now included a clause in there so that an individual who actually owns a block down there can actually apply to develop it,’ he said. “They don’t have approval but they can apply for approval whereas before they couldn’t even apply — we’ve made those little changes which we hope the State Government planning department will approve and then we can go from there. “The State Government, in the past, has sold quite a number of blocks to people and those people have been wanting to develop it and they haven’t been able to develop it so this has been a process that’s been going on for more than 10 years. “I feel really sorry for those people.” Development at the former pearling town has been prevented by myriad issues over the last four decades, including a special control area provision preventing development not connected to power, scheme water and reticulated effluent disposal. In December 2017, council adopted a proposed scheme amendment to remove the requirements of power, water and sewer connections. This was knocked back by the WA Planning Commission in September 2019 due to inconsistencies with State planning policies relating to coastal and bushfire hazards and water, sewer and heritage conservation concerns. Cossack landowner and William Shakespeare Hall descendant Alan Wilson expressed his delight at the recommended modification. “I am very pleased to see that the clause has been put in and it does answer a lot of our requests that have been put forward to the council over many years,’ he said. “I’m delighted that the council is sympathetic to our problems and this is a moderate change from attitudes of the council over the last 10 to 20 years so I look on that as being very positive development.” Terry Paterson, another landowner, said it was a win for all landowners.