WAPC - Peel Region Scheme – Boating Facilities Policy

The Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC) recently released the final version of the Peel Region Scheme – Boating Facilities Policy (Policy), which was developed in response to the exponential increase in the use of public waterways in the Peel region, and increasing conflicts which are occurring between the general public, and those people who claim rights in private jetties and related development.

The key aim of the Policy is to minimise the impact of jetties on waterways in the Peel region by controlling the location and construction of jetties and associated development, to ensure that:

  • waterways and foreshores are not alienated from public use and enjoyment;
  • waterways are safe for recreation and navigation;
  • the impact of jetties on the environmental values of waterways, including hydrological processes, are minimised; and
  • the visual amenity of the waterways and foreshores within the Peel region are maintained.

The Policy applies to both new and existing structures.  In considering new structures, the WAPC will consider whether there will be, among other things:

  • adverse impacts on wildlife;
  • significant clearing required;
  • unacceptable effects on hydrological processes;
  • ongoing maintenance and dredging to allow access by vessels; and
  • adverse effects on existing or proposed public infrastructure or existing jetties.

In considering both new applications, and amendments/reconstruction of existing facilities, the WAPC will take into account locational, design and construction criteria specified in the Policy.

The key elements of this criteria are that any jetty should:

  • be located as close as possible to the lot with which it is associated, without affecting abutting properties, structures and navigation channels;
  • be contained within a 6x6m building envelope, measured from the shoreline to the outside edge of the jetty;
  • contain no more than two mooring piles in association with any one jetty; and
  • be conditioned to undertake rehabilitation of adjacent riparian vegetation, river bank and/or foreshore adjacent to the proposed jetty.

Lavan Legal comment

In recent times, there have been a large number of conflicts arising as a result of the development and use of public waterways and surrounding areas.  With this in mind, it is pleasing that the WAPC has considered this issue in detail, and produced a policy which gives guidance not only to proponents, but also to members of public and local governments, in terms of what is, and what is not, acceptable from the State’s perspective.

These issues however are not confined to the Peel region, and as a result, it would be beneficial for decision making authorities across the State if the WAPC took a wider look at this issue, and produced a state planning policy of similar detail.

From a proponent’s perspective, it is important to keep in mind that while a policy can be used by decision making authorities to assist in assessing the acceptability of proposals, there is always scope for a decision making authority to make decisions which are inconsistent with the policy, when supported by appropriate technical information and expert opinion.

Lavan Legal has been involved in a number of developments which involve jetties, marinas and complex hydrological processes in recent times.  If you require any assistance or guidance with your proposal, or have any queries regarding the applicability of this policy to your property, please contact us

Disclaimer – the information contained in this publication does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. You should seek legal advice in relation to any particular matter you may have before relying or acting on this information. The Lavan team are here to assist.