Gracetown residents want end to development spectre at DevelopmentWA ‘conservation’ site

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
Gracetown-Cowaramup Bay Community Inc president Richard Muirhead.
Camera IconGracetown-Cowaramup Bay Community Inc president Richard Muirhead. Credit: Warren Hately/Augusta-Margaret River Times

The residents group governing Gracetown want to see the land earmarked for the DevelopmentWA project returned to conservation zoning and will seek assurances the land won’t be sold to private developers.

Gracetown Cowaramup Bay Community president Richard Muirhead said the former LandCorp project had affected residents’ peace of mind for more than 25 years.

In a statement endorsed by four recent presidents of what was once the Gracetown Progress Association, Mr Muirhead said residents who had lived through years of consultation and uncertainty deserved to see the fate of the project decided for good.

“Now that the development has been abandoned, it is critical that the zoning of the land be restored to the equivalent of its original status of parks and recreation without delay,” Mr Muirhead said.

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Prior to 1998, Lot 300 was zoned as unallocated crown land and designated as “parks and recreation” in the former Shire planning scheme, but it was listed in the Shire’s new draft LPS2 as “urban development, environmental conservation”.

Mr Muirhead noted the structure plan for the lapsed project included a commitment to transfer about 230ha of the unutilised part of the block into the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park upon completion.

Mr Muirhead said the proposed zoning meant “the Government could sell Lot 300 to another developer to recoup the $4.1 million DevelopmentWA spent on its original failed proposal”.

Shire of Augusta-Margaret River sustainable development and infrastructure director Nick Logan confirmed the local government was recently made aware of the DevelopmentWA decision to quit the project.

The Shire was “seeking clarification” from the State Government on the future of the land before LPS2 was finalised.

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