Big turnout at resort protest

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
Organisers hailed a strong public turnout.
Camera IconOrganisers hailed a strong public turnout. Credit: Christian Fletcher Picture:

Protest group Preserve Gnarabup says a strong showing at Saturday’s rally will drive further talks about ways to halt the proposed resort development on Margaret River’s coast.

Group lawyer Clare Gleeson will discuss the group’s scheme amendment bid with Shire of Augusta-Margaret River planners today, while other group members prepare for the live debut of the Preserve Gnarabup website and more fundraising efforts.

A fundraising pledge campaign is also imminent.

More than 400 people attended Saturday’s rally at Reuther Park which ended in a march to the Shire offices where speakers detailed their concerns about the Westin Margaret River Spa & Resort proposal, which includes mixed apartments and holiday homes as part of a town precinct for Gnarabup.

A new restaurant site as well as several shops were included in the plan, supporting events space and another restaurant at the five-star Westin.

Group spokeswoman Beth Carlessi said protesters were thrilled with the weekend’s strong showing which included musician John Butler and South West Greens MLC Diane Evers. “The community came together in solidarity — people of all ages, and so many colourful signs and banners showing that we’re against this development for so many reasons — that we need to preserve this part of our coastline,” she said.

Ms Carlessi stressed the group was not “anti-development”.

“We are for sustainable development and tourism in appropriate places, fair community consultation processes, and preservation of our precious and fragile coastline,” she said.

“We feel that this site is worth more, culturally, socially, environmentally and economically, left in its natural and non-developed state.”

Attendees signed a petition headed to Parliament’s Lower House, and more copies of the petition were available in local cafes until early next month.

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