Port Hedland dust buyback just for homes, not commercial real estate, Government says

The Washington government has ruled out an expansion of a voluntary program to buy back dust-hit homes in the shadow of the world’s largest mass export port.

Important points:

  • Some commercial property owners say they were overlooked in the voluntary buyback program
  • The Washington government is buying back up to 400 homes in an industry-funded program
  • Port Hedland is the world’s largest bulk export port with billions of dollars worth of iron ore shipped monthly

Billions of dollars of iron ore are shipped through Port Hedland every month.

Local residents and businesses are slowly leaving the West End area as they have concerns about the long-term effects of iron ore dust on human health.

Therefore, the government is offering to buy back 400 dust-polluted houses in the region.

Richard Dymond said his commercial rents in the area have decreased by as much as 60 percent in recent years due to high ongoing dust-related maintenance costs.

The commercial landlord has urged the government to consider adding commercial real estate to the industry-funded $ 200 million program.

Starting next month, each ship entering port will be charged an additional $ 13,450 levy to pay for the buyback.

A “buzzing” district

Washington Minister for Regional Development Alannah MacTiernan urged commercial property owners to be patient and said plans were underway for a massive revitalization of the area.

She said it was only homeowners who had undergone planning changes, whose properties were “effectively shut down”.

Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to search, up and down arrows for volume.ClockDuration: 3 minutes 35 seconds3m 35sSome Port Hedland residents are filthy trying to buy them out

“I understand that some of these properties are residential habits and could suffer in the short term,” said Ms. MacTiernan.

“Seriously, our vision of the West End is that with the amount of redevelopment we are going to invest there, we will make it a vibrant tourism, hospitality and maritime area with a fabulous spoil bank marina right in the center, the commercial property values ​​will improve over time. “

It ruled out an extension of the buyback program to the commercial real estate sector.

“We don’t think there is any reason to expand the system,” said Ms. MacTiernan.

“We’re not just going to buy back and knock down the houses that are being bought back to us.

“There is going to be a very, very active redevelopment of this site and we believe the commercial space will increase in value over the next two to five years.”

Find more local news here

Port Hedland CBD showing mines and harbor in the backgroundThis view of Port Hedland’s CBD shows the proximity of the mines and the port. (ABC News: Gian De Poloni)

Work on the USD 121.5 million marina project is scheduled to begin in March or April and be completed by the end of next year.

It will include a public jetty, a marina with 21 boats and a four-lane boat ramp, a public art and culture space, and a waterfront promenade with a snake story from Yintha Kariyarra.

“Uncertainty” the problem: landlords

Mr. Dymond has owned two storefronts on Wedge Street with other investors for 15 years.

The port that swallowed a city

Dust covers a man's hand after wiping it on a car.

Iron ore profits line the pockets of Australia’s greatest miners and are vital to the treasury. The result of the increased exports is a thick layer of dust that covers everything.

Continue reading

He said maintenance costs have always been high due to dust pollution, but rental rates have also been affected in recent years as businesses moved to South Hedland.

“The main problem was uncertainty about what the future of the West End would actually be,” said Dymond.

“The dust is very hard on the roofs of the properties and very hard on the air conditioning. We have had to invest a lot of money in replacing this infrastructure over the years.

“But now it’s uncertainty.”

He said after a government report five years ago highlighted concerns about the long-term health effects of dust, many companies moved “because their customers would likely move in the future”.

The government announced last year that it would voluntarily buy back residential real estate for $ 200 million.

It banned future housing developments and those for sensitive groups such as children or the elderly.

An aerial view of Port HedlandUp to 400 homeowners in the dust-hit West End of Port Hedland will be offered the opportunity to sell to the government. (ABC Pilbara: Susan Standen)

“The main fear is what will happen to the country they are removing them from,” said Dymond.

“We’ve been investors in Port Hedland for probably 15 years and you don’t expect flyers from anyone, you are taking a risk as an investor.

“But we want to see some security. If there is a future for commercial real estate, we want to know what it is.

“We would be really disappointed if the West End were turned into an industrial park and our land values ​​were a third of what they were with no compensation.”

BHP has previously announced that it will spend $ 20 million over the next five years to establish the precinct as a “vibrant commercial and community hub,” including a greening program and the installation of two upcycled shipping containers for pop-up markets.