Port Geographe Landowners Association concerned about rates

Port Geographe landowners would like to see the City of Busselton introduce a user pay principle to help fund waterway maintenance. Image supplied.

Port Geographe landowners would like to see the City of Busselton introduce a user pay principle to help fund waterway maintenance. Image supplied.

The Port Geographe Landowners Association have expressed concern they continue to fund the maintenance of waterways surrounding the port through their rates, at their annual general meeting last week.

Landowners in Port Geographe pay a special area rate which is used by the City of Busselton to pay the Department of Transport for maintenance and dredging of a public facility.

The SAR catchment zone includes lots which are landlocked as well as lots on the waterfront.

At the meeting a spokesperson stated since the city stopped contributing 25 per cent from its municipality collection they were the only WA ratepayers paying a SAR to maintain a public waterway.

The landowners would like to see a user pay principle introduced for people who use the facility to gain boating access to Geographe Bay.

City of Busselton acting chief executive officer Cliff Frewing said it was always the intention that SAR would cover some of the costs of coastal and waterway management obligations.

Mr Frewing said the state government agreed to take on responsibility for all costs associated with coastal and waterway management at Port Geographe in return for the city making available all of the funds held in the Waterways Management Reserve and continuing to raise and make available the Port Geographe SAR.

”The state bears the majority of costs associated with the coastal and waterway management at Port Geographe and the city contributes a portion of the costs incurred through the SAR,” he said.

“The differential rate, which takes the form of the SAR, is imposed on all lots within the Port Geographe development area for waterways management purposes.

“Waterway management is not just about the canals, it is also about the coastal management requirements such as sand and sea grass bypassing which maintains the amenity of the whole area.”

A Department of Transport spokesperson said it acted as an agent of the city to perform coastal management and maintenance at Port Geographe.

“The Department works closely with the city to recoup the costs associated with these works,” the spokesperson said.

Have your say: Should a user pay principle be introduced for everyone who accesses the waterways at Port Geographe to help fund maintenance? Email editorial.bdmail@fairfaxmedia.com.au.