Contentious Karridale commune Mindful Earth on the market after Shire of Augusta-Margaret River fine toll

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
Mindful Earth Sanctuary owner Boh Morel.
Camera IconMindful Earth Sanctuary owner Boh Morel. Credit: Supplied/RegionalHUB

The heavy toll of a major fine has forced the owner of a contentious community space in Karridale to put the property on the market.

Mindful Earth Sanctuary owner Boh Morel was found guilty in February of two charges of undertaking development without approval and undertaking building work in contravention of the Building Act 2011 as well as running the sanctuary as a de facto campground and hosting ticketed events.

Fines and costs totalled almost $120,000 which heaped pressure on the commune which was already on the nose with Karridale residents and the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River for a rash of loud parties that sparked major concerns about bushfire safety.

The sanctuary’s plight was worsened the week before the February court case when a 20-year-old French tourists suffered horrendous burns when he mistakenly poured ethanol-based hand sanitiser on a paddock fire allegedly sparked by a new generator.

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That incident remained under investigation by Worksafe this week.

Mr Morel told the Times he was looking for investors to “keep the dream alive”.

The owner was looking for someone “having the funds to purchase the property and buy out my ex-partner and fix all the issues with the council and solve issues with the local community”.

“Funds and new management would be the key,” Mr Morel said.

“Ideally, we continue on with the dream with or without me.

“Building the community has always been the dream, so that it benefits all involved and all in the area.”

Mr Morel, a former engineer, bought the land hoping to build a new style of community, but the venue increasingly raised the ire of neighbours after music concerts and wellness festivals drew scores of travellers to the site during peak summer season.

The situation spiralled out of control until Shire rangers, backed by police, took action to shut the site down, with the Shire then launching prosecution after buildings on the site were found to lack the relevant approvals.

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