Executive Summary and Recommendations
1 Deep sewerage has been identified as a priority for the urban coastal strip west of Busselton because of environmental concerns regarding the long term use of septic tanks (due to nutrient leaching). Also residents in the low lying areas are experiencing problems with septic and leach drain flooding from rising ground water.
2 Most residents want reticulated sewerage, but do not want any of the necessary infrastructures in the vicinity of their properties or in their local parks/reserves. Residents believe a pump station would affect the aesthetics and amenity of their area and reduce the value of surrounding properties.
3 The Water Corporation (the Corporation) requires a vacuum pump station (dimensions 9.3 metres by 12.3 metres by four metres high) to service the infill sewerage project known as Sewage Reticulation Area Busselton 10F and 15B.
4 From the Corporation’s engineering and operating perspective the pump station site should be central to the area it has to service, so as to maximise plant performance and to minimise costs and the possibility of system failure. Heseltine Park and its immediate surrounds are the Corporation’s favoured location.
5 The Corporation investigated 13 potential sites in the project area including eight reserves (local parks/reserves/public open space), three privately owned blocks and the grounds of the local primary school and hospital. Site assessment was based on engineering and operational requirements, cost and community/environmental considerations.
6 The Corporation’s preferred site is Lot 95 Blue Crescent, a privately owned block at the western end of Heseltine Park. However the market price was approximately $40,000 higher than the Corporation’s independent valuation of $130,000 to $140,000. This is higher than ‘valuation plus 10%’, which is the maximum the Corporation offers under its property purchasing guidelines. The Corporation’s second site preference is in Heseltine Park itself as it is central and there is no land purchase cost.
7 The petitioners support the Corporation’s infill sewerage project, but do not want the amenity and aesthetics of Heseltine Park adversely impacted by siting a pump station in it. Their preferred site is the reserve at the corner of Geographe Bay and Dolphin Roads, near the Dolphin Road boat ramp. Private residences are at a greater distance from this site and there is already a toilet block located there, which the pumping station could be designed to match.
8 The Corporation does not consider the Dolphin Road boat ramp site to be a viable option, because it is at the extremity of the area that is operationally feasible for a vacuum pump station. The site is not central to the project area and hence the pump station would be working at its operational limits. This would increase the possibility of system failure and, combined with the exposed foreshore location, would increase the maintenance and running costs. There would also be an additional capital cost of $390,000 compared to the Heseltine Park site. The Corporation does not know if residents near the Dolphin Road site would object to the pump station being sited there, as it has not previously been proposed as a serious option.
9 Hon Frank Hough MLC dissented from recommendations 2, 3 and 4.
10 Recommendations are grouped as they appear in the text at the page number indicated.
Recommendation 1: The Committee recommends that the sewage pumping station required to service the Water Corporation’s Sewage Reticulation Areas Busselton 15B and 10F not be sited in Heseltine Park, Glenleigh Road, Busselton.
Recommendation 2: The Committee recommends that Lot 95 Blue Crescent be acquired by the Water Corporation and be used to site the vacuum pumping station needed to service Sewage Reticulation Areas 10F and 15B.
Recommendation 3: The Committee recommends that the Water Corporation obtain new independent valuations for Lot 95 Blue Crescent that reflect the current market value and use them in its negotiations with the owner of Lot 95 Blue Crescent, with a view to reaching an agreed price for the property.
Recommendation 4: The Committee recommends that the Water Corporation take the necessary steps to enable it to go outside any land purchasing guidelines to facilitate the purchase of Lot 95 Blue Crescent at the agreed price.
Recommendation 5: The Committee recommends that the Water Corporation ensures that the pumping station is thoroughly sound proofed and that the odour control technology and procedures are of the highest standard to ensure that the amenity of the property owners adjoining Lot 95 Blue Crescent is not affected.
Recommendation 6: The Committee recommends that the Water Corporation make the unutilised part of Lot 95 Blue Crescent available as part of the public open space of Heseltine Park, and ensures that public access is maintained from Blue Crescent to the park, through Lot 95.
Recommendation 7: The Committee recommends that the Minister for Planning and Infrastructure should review the current planning policy in relation to the siting of waste water infrastructure in areas of public open space.