Cossack landowners stare down another hurdle

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VideoCossack landowners discuss the long-running issue of development in the coastal Pilbara ghost town.

Cossack’s land holders have hit another speed bump in the quest to develop their land, with a State Government risk management plan ruling many of the lots fell within the one to 500-year coastal hazard line.

The long-suffering Cossack landowners have been fighting for several decades to develop the land, which has previously been advertised by the State Government as a future “Broome of the Pilbara”.

The latest front is the State Government’s coastal hazard risk management adaption plan, which has classified the Harding River mouth where Cossack sits under the same methodology as a sandy coast, which includes some provisions for tidal areas.

Landowner Geoff Van Waardenberg, also a qualified surveyor, said previous mapping had indicated most of his lot was safe from flood surge inundation risks.

“My disappointment here is the omission of any sub-surface survey over lots 149 to 153, which are the prime privately held lots in Cossack,” he said.

“I do not think it was a fair assessment ... to simply run a line of rock depths along the Perseverance Street alignment ... and not investigate rock heights over the high blocks on the river side, thus ruling these as sandy and imposing a 120-metre horizontal setback west of the high water mark.

“Yes, the town site has large amounts of sand, but in most areas this sand is only superficial and is covering large areas of solid blue stone rock,”

Mr Van Waardenberg said the land-owners intended to investigate employing a firm with ground penetrating radar to survey the lots in question.

A Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage spokeswoman said methodology for sandy coast erosion was generally applied to inland tidal areas.

“State Planning Policy 2.6 ... identifies that the allowance for erosion on tidal reaches of inland water should generally be determined using the methods specified for sandy, rocky, and mixed sandy and rocky coasts,” she said.

“Consideration should also be given to the variation in underlying coastal processes and driving forces within sheltered inland waters.”

City of Karratha Mayor Peter Long said the City wasdeveloping a scheme amendment to allow for site appropriate tourism development.

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