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RPS collaborates with local kids to Transform Bunbury’s Waterfront

RPS collaborates with local kids to Transform Bunbury’s Waterfront

    RPS has been working with local high school students in Bunbury on a project that will help regional decision-makers manage waterway health and biosecurity.

    As part of a study being undertaken for the Transforming Bunbury’s Waterfront (TBW) project, our environmental experts have completed a survey of introduced marine species in waterfront areas identified for redevelopment.
    Year 11 biology and aquaculture students from Newton Moore Senior High School assisted the fieldwork, teaming up with RPS staff to look for marine specimens washed ashore at Jetty Baths and BP Beach.
    RPS Environmental Director Jeremy Fitzpatrick said the beach surveys provide valuable baseline data against which future surveys can be compared.
    “Our work will allow the manager of the boat harbour to understand that if new introduced marine species are washed up, it is time to review biosecurity measures” he said.
    “To involve younger members of the community in the study has been really positive. They are the ones who will benefit from good management of the waterway in the future, so it’s great to be able to share our knowledge and see them actively engage in monitoring and assessment of the local environment.” 
    RPS has been assisting the South West Development Commission (SWDC) – the organisation leading the environmental approvals process for the Transforming Bunbury’s Waterfront project since 2016.
    SWDC's Assistant Director for Infrastructure, Ashley Clements, said the students not only received information about introduced species but gained valuable insight and practical experience.
    “This was a great opportunity for the students to have real-life experience working on a scientific investigation that has a purpose,” he said.
    “They can be proud to have played a role in a major project.” 
    The overall survey of introduced marine species completed by RPS covers Casuarina Boat Harbour and Koombana Bay beach, and will feed into an assessment of the potential environmental impacts of future development; including plans for new marine facilities and boat pens.
    In addition to the beach walks undertaken with the students, our team has been completing similar survey walks at other sites nearby, deploying baited traps for small fish and crabs and examining the seabed and marine structures at each location.
    RPS divers have examined mooring buoys and lines, pilings, moored vessels and the seabed, while a waterproof video camera system was towed underwater to search for introduced marine species and provide data for an updated habitat map for proposed development areas.
    The map will feed into an environmental impact assessment for the project more broadly, and our team is currently partnering with GHD on the preparation of the Strategic Public Environmental Review and associated management plans
    The TBW project aims to take underused areas of the city’s waterfront and convert them into thriving, vibrant places that produce long-term community and economic benefit.

    Our support for the projects doesn’t end at environmental science, with RPS’ Perth-based economics team engaged to prepare a business case and funding submission for Stage 1, and a subsequent economic and social impact assessment technical report for the Stage 2 business case. This work has led to a funding commitment of $24.9 million to the project via the Western Australian Government’s Royalties for Regions program.
    The first stage of the TBW project involves the redevelopment of the Bunbury Dolphin Discovery Centre, and revitalisation of the Koombana Bay foreshore. The second stage involves landscaping along Casuarina Drive, and upgrades to the Jetty Road causeway.
    RPS’ Landscape Architecture team has designed the Koombana Bay Foreshore Masterplan, which will create a landmark waterfront gateway to the City. The masterplan’s development involved extensive community and stakeholder engagement and was used to support the economics business case.
    For more information on the Transforming Bunbury’s Waterfront project, please visit


    10 April 2017