Evidence-based, purpose-led consulting solutions for Western Australia
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When I was a young kid, I was taken out into the bush and natural areas of Western Australia by family and friends. I also had relatives who worked in the environmental science field. I guess my upbringing planted the seed that I could do a job trying to protect something I love – i.e. the natural environment areas in WA.
In particular, the south-west region of WA has always held a special place in my heart. It was always a goal of mine when going through university to try to end up in a professional environmental science role. I got an opportunity with a small south-west consultancy in the early 2000s and I’ve been down here doing a job that I love for over 20 years now. Time flies when you are having fun!
We have world-class surf beaches and mountain bike trails, beautiful national parks, renowned wineries, and gourmet foods. All the good things in life are down here. There’s a lot to protect!
Principal Consultant - Environmental Planning and Management based in Margaret River, Western Australia.
My studies at the University of Guelph focussed on soil science – and there is not a lot of common ground between Canada and Western Australia. We've got some of the oldest soils in the world in WA and Canada's got relatively new soils, with most generated in glacial or post-glacial sediments from around 12,000 years ago. Whereas, in WA our soils are millions of years old.
Their vegetation is much less diverse too. You can get hundreds of species in a 10-minute walk in WA. In Canada you would be lucky to get 10-20 in a half-hour walk.
The south west is a very fast-growing area with the increasing population putting a lot of stress on housing and infrastructure supply.
The population growth and resulting development are a natural result of the area being such an amazing place to live, and our role across these development projects is to ensure that the environmental impacts are being managed in the best way possible. This covers everything from groundwater to soils to flora and fauna across the breadth of environmental factors.
As environmental scientists, we want development to be managed in the best way possible. There is the potential for this rapid growth to have a negative impact on the environment. I'd rather be the one managing these projects to ensure they are being delivered in the best way possible.
The south west region of WA has always held a special place in my heart. I got an opportunity with a small south-west consultancy in the early 2000s and I’ve been down here doing a job that I love for over 20 years now. Time flies when you are having fun!
Principal Consultant - Environmental Planning and Management
We work across a large range of private and commercial developments, and government projects. Everything from infrastructure to mining and land development.
We complete due diligence reports for clients who have a site in mind, and we will determine the limitations and constraints as well as the opportunities of the site. We’ll investigate whether there’s a high groundwater table or if the site has a high number of protected flora or fauna species, and we will hopefully be able to provide a solution to manage any potential risks and work to minimise the impacts of the development on the environment.
Land availability in some areas is a big issue. Much of the ‘easy to develop’ land has already been developed. Some of the sites that are being looked at now have higher environmental constraints. The environmental legislation and protections are regularly revised and updated, resulting in an increasingly complex regulatory framework. The less constrained land is often located on high-value agricultural land.
Looking forward, there will need to be some decisions made soon to address housing in a way that doesn’t impact our limited resources.
Yes, we’re currently working with a number of clients mining and refining the minerals needed to build and power renewable energy projects. It’s very positive that our region is contributing to the energy transition.
It’s a huge job for us in the south west and a great example of the changing world – of how we can adapt and meet the challenges of limited resources within a rapidly growing region.