Save Smiths Beach Action Group has doubled down on it's criticism of the proposed development at Smiths Beach, claiming recently-released pictures aren't all they're cracked up to be.
A series of released images depict a low-lying, green-rooved coastal village nestled into the distant bushland on the Yallingup hill, and birds-eye views of buildings amongst the native flora.
The plans include a 65 room hotel, 61 holiday homes, a campground of raised platforms for tents, a Surf Life Saving Club, general store and Cape to Cape welcome centre, spread across the bushland by the popular beach.
Smiths Beach was also at the centre of community outrage against plans for a development in 2001, which never went ahead.
The 40.5 hectare site was bought in 2014 by company Smiths 2014 Pty Ltd which is led by Perth developer Adrian Fini.
Mr Finihas submitted new development plans to the State Government Development Assessment Unit, with hopes to receive approvals and begin construction a year from now.
Save Smiths Beach Action Group spokesperson Dave Mitchell said the group was concerned about the extension of the development site onto the headland, an area the Environmental Protection Authority previously noted should be ceded to national park land.
However, Mr Fini stresses the development will respect the landscape.
He says that based on approvals from 2014, the developers have the right to clear half the land and build up to 500 dwellings on the site.
However, Mr Fini's new plan shows a development which is much more spread out, with many dwellings separated by bushland area.
"The previous project actually annihilated 50 per cent of the land and removed some of the 'excellent' vegetation," Mr Fini said.
"Our plan has been designed to retain all the 'excellent' vegetation and enhance the existing landscape."
"Because we are having fewer buildings on increased lot sizes, the amount of permanently cleared land is decreased by eight hectares."
Mr Mitchell also said that the released images confirm the development would have a larger environmental and visual impact on the landscape than what was allowed under the Development Guide Plan for the site.
"The developer is bulldozing over the EPA rules and planning laws. We don't think it is right," he said.
Mr Fini's development manager noted that the EPA will be undertaking an assessment of the new plans that have been put forward, and that different regulations may apply.
An ongoing concern for the action group was how the proposal is able to by-pass local government environmental and safety regulations, under a COVID-prompted law that fast-tracks "shovel-ready" developments.
Under the Planning and Development Amendment Bill introduced in May 2020, developments over $5 million are not submitted to local governments and are instead assessed by the State Development Assessment Unit.
"The 'fast track' process allows ecologically sensitive coastal landscapes to be chopped up for urban housing, it's simply not right," Mr Mitchell said.
Mr Fini said the law had just streamlined the approval process.
"Large complex projects can take years and years to be approved, and this 'fast-track' is meant to be a two-year process," he said.
"It's based on all the government departments working in parallel and basically on the same page. It also requires a much more detailed plan from us. So it allows certainty for the community about what will be built there."
Mr Mitchell said he and the action group would support plans that adhered to local government regulations.
"The laws are in place to protect the environment and the integrity of this beautiful place for future generations," he said.
"All we are asking is that the developer comply to these laws, and for the government to uphold its own laws."