Yarloop Was Once A Booming Timber Town
The rich soil attracted many immigrants to establish farms and vineyards here. Over the years, Yarloop became an attractive alternative to city living. It’s close proximity to the beach and the South West tourist region, as well as being surrounded by lush bushland and gently rolling green hills, made it an idyllic small town for young families and retirees.
Yarloop and surrounding towns are in close proximity to Alcoa’s Wagerup operations, which include a bauxite mine site, one of the world’s largest aluminium refineries, red mud lakes which are slated to grow to 3000 acres by 60 metres high, and a soon-to-be constructed gas-powered cogeneration plant.
The health of many local residents has been affected by Alcoa’s pollution, especially over the past 10 years. As a result, the majority of households within 5 km of the facility have sold to Alcoa. Other residents outside of that area are now registering their interest in relocating. Alcoa’s land management plan, to date, has not been equitable, with many sellers suffering a loss when they seek to relocate. Alcoa continues to argue that “there is no problem” with pollution and that their emissions hold no health risk.
It had been a wonderfully close-knit community, but the social fabric has deteriorated as long-time residents relocate and businesses close. The hospital has shut down and local teachers and police are restricted from living in the local area. Yarloop’s growth area has been negatively impacted, as no additional subdivision is allowed. The land in this area has been devalued.
CAPS aim to hold Alcoa accountable for the damage done to this community. Through submissions to the State Government, we are striving to create a more fair situation for displaced and impacted residents. We have provided local residents with community empowerment workshops, as well as informing the general public about the situation through advertisements and media reports.
With projects such as the Yarloop Bucket Brigade, we are helping to give the power back to the people in this region. We need to remind Alcoa and the government that we were here first!