Coral Bay to take more visitors

Coral Bay will get more caravans and campers.

Coral Bay, one of WA's premier tourist spots and home to internationally recognised Ningaloo reef, will be allowed to accommodate an extra 800 visitors despite concerns for fish stocks and the strain on water, waste disposal and electricity services.

The Coral Bay settlement structure plan, to be released today, outlines a 25-year vision for the area with a framework for future tourism developments.

It proposes to increase the settlement's population cap from 4500 to 5300, mostly caravan and camping visitors.

And though the rise is based on modelling that considered environmental and social outcomes, the plan says the population increase will put additional strain on local resources and services.

However, it acknowledges that the Water Corporation believes it can provide enough water for the extra people and Verve Energy indicated its wind-diesel generation system could cope.

Modelling also indicated negative effects on fish stocks with a potential 6 per cent decline in spangled emperor numbers. This would require the Fisheries Department to adopt "appropriate management mechanisms".

Planning Minister John Day said lifting the population cap would ensure Coral Bay stayed one of WA's top tourist spots.

He said the plan reflected the community's sentiment to protect the natural appeal and holiday fabric of Coral Bay and conserve the Ningaloo coastal environment.

"This population increase will create the opportunity for a new camping and caravan park on Banksia Drive and for strata- titled short-stay accommodation on Lot 308," Mr Day said.

"Permanent residential development will not be allowed.

"But the workers' accommodation precinct on Lot 308 will remain for people who need to reside in Coral Bay as a result of their business or employment."

Under the plan, all permanent residential proposals will be directed to the established town sites of Exmouth and Carnarvon.