Newsletter October 2000


Long-awaited guidelines out your opinion vital
On 26 September, the Government released guidelines for the future use of the Leighton Marshalling Yards and surrounding areas. Public comment is invited until Friday 27 October and the Leighton Action Coalition (LAC) urges its members to take this opportunity. Everyone who wrote to the Government should receive a copy of the guidelines. They are also available on the Ministry for Planning website and at local Council offices.

In response to the long and intensive 'Save Leighton' campaign, the Ministry for Planning has developed a policy that should go some way towards satisfying the community's wishes. However, LAC is strongly of the opinion that insufficient land has been set aside in the important southern section. This newsletter explains why and includes a submission form that indicates the choices as we see them.

We're almost there but not quite! What the guidelines say
The guidelines cover issues including coastal setback, beach access and parking, cultural heritage, views and transport. In summary, the guideline recommendations leave no space for residential/commercial development on the northern and central sections. Consequently, the Ministry for Planning proposes that these narrow sections of land be zoned 'Parks and Recreation' (they are currently zoned 'Urban').

The greatest demand for public open space at Leighton exists in the southern section of the site around the surf club (see map). LAC's detailed research has indicated that environmental and recreational requirements leave no more than 2.2 hectares of this area for development. In contrast to this, the Government has proposed that nearly double this area (4 hectares) be developed. LAC is concerned that the Government's position is not as rigorously researched as it should be and that it may be driven by the same pressures that led to the Leighton Shores fiasco. It is important to note that many people are strongly of the opinion that the entire Leighton site should be set aside for public open space, and these people are likely to be disappointed with the guidelines.

LAC's position has been developed over the last 20 months in consultation with the community, user groups and coastal planning experts. It has based its assessment on careful consideration of the following needs:
Environmental: provision of adequate space for coastal setback to allow natural coastal processes to occur and to protect built infrastructure and recreational spaces;
Surf life saving club: allow for current and future space requirements, especially given its current location in the erosion risk zone;
Ablution facilities: replacing existing facilities with two smaller ones - to the north and the south to better meet the needs of beach users;
Kiosk, restaurant and al fresco: create more suitable facilities that will allow more people to enjoy a coffee or meal in a coastal setting;
Passive recreational space: open space for picnics, barbeques and general outdoor activities. This would include pathways, trees, shade structures, children's playgrounds and grassed areas;
Informal active recreational areas: catering for activities such as beach volleyball and other activities developed through further community consultations;
Parking: Careful analysis of requirements of other regional beaches indicates that 2.4 hectares is needed at the surf club node, behind the erosion zone.

Details of all of these considerations have been documented in LAC submissions to the Ministry for Planning (click for Coastal Planning, or Transport). Once these modest requirements are provided for, a maximum of 2.2 hectares could be made available for appropriate development that is sympathetic to this unique site.

What the community wants is simple - sufficient open space for parkland and regional recreational needs (now and in the future) for all to enjoy, protected by a dune system that can naturally withstand coastal pressures in a sustainable manner. We have come a long way but we must be sure that we don't settle for second best. Please send in a submission and have your say so that this summer we can enjoy our beach knowing we have assured its future.

Curtin Avenue where things stand
You may have noticed that many of the maps of Leighton show a road reserve that runs parallel to the passenger railway for the length of the site. This area is zoned for a regional road and the Department of Transport is currently developing a plan to use the land to extend Curtin Avenue through the site. It would be a major two-lane regional road, with four lanes in sections. A flyover is proposed across the railway line just south of North Fremantle station, to join up with Stirling Highway and Queen Victoria Street at a major intersection.

Extending Curtin Avenue will reduce regional traffic on Port Beach Road provided the latter is significantly traffic calmed. However, the analysis provided by the Department of Transport does not necessarily justify putting such a large road (which would swallow up 4 hectares) through the site where public open space is so limited. It seems that the decision is being rushed and that alternatives have not been given adequate consideration. For example, LAC believes that alternatives such as diverting the regional traffic to Stirling Highway south of Wellington Street (Mosman Park), have not been adequately considered. We urge our members to be vigilant about road plans through the site and to make sure that their opinion is heard when the plan is released for public comment in the next few months.

Art, food, wine and music extravaganza Thank you!!
Thanks to everyone who attended this event. It was a fantastic evening made possible by the generosity of artists, businesses and volunteers. It was a huge job, done with style. Thanks to Sally, Ann, Sue, Lorraine, Paul, Gretta and the rest of the art crew.

Road Shows get the scoop first hand
Road shows have been organised for the public consultation phase on the new planning guidelines for Leighton (ends Friday 27 October). You can get the latest information on what's going on and grab some Leighton collector's items. The roadshow will be outside the Freo Markets (next to the Sail and Anchor) on Saturdays from 10am 3 pm and just south of the Indiana Tea House at Cottesloe Beach on Sundays from 9am 2pm.

Cottesloe reefs need your help
You may be interested in supporting protection of the Cottesloe reef system, just off the northern part of Leighton beach. The reef extends from 300m south of the artificial reef to North Street (on the Cottesloe/Swanbourne border) and is being proposed as a Fish Habitat Protection Area. The community group called the Cottesloe Marine Protection Group has released a draft management plan which proposes protecting the reef for a distance 800 metres offshore. It is proposed that the Protection Area would prohibit spearfishing and the use of gidgees, jetskis, the collection of plants and animals (except for linefishing from the shore and groynes and the taking of abalone and crayfish in season). If you wish to comment on the proposal, please direct it to Ms Robin Clark by 31 October at Fisheries WA, Locked Bag 39, Cloisters Square WA 6850 or Ph: 9482 7227 or Fax 9482 7389 or email More information from the Cottesloe Marine Protection Group Ph: 9384 3893 or email

Contact Information

Leighton Action Coalition Inc.
C/- 34A Holland Street
Fremantle WA 6160
Tel: 9335 5182

Email: (Susan Harrington, LAC spokesperson)


The issues

Community's Concept


How you can help

LAC contact details