A coastal bus service to lighten the load on beach carparks is “not yet feasible”, according to the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River. Amid growing angst from residents about full beach carparks and concerns the Westin Margaret River Resort & Spa, once built, would further reduce the availability of parking for locals, Shire chief executive Stephanie Addison-Brown said “low-carbon public, tourist and school transport” was the only one of 11 identified projects not to progress because no community group, business or not-for-profit had stepped in to co-ordinate it. A public transport connection to the coast was raised in a list of priority actions identified at the Shire-sponsored Climate Action Summit in 2019 and included in an update in late 2020. On social media, residents have also repeatedly called for the option to be explored, despite the failure of a Margaret River Rotary-sponsored holiday beach bus more than 10 years ago. “The Shire is also aware of previous beach bus trials that were discontinued due to lack of uptake,” Ms Addison-Brown said. “The Shire has taken the view that is more of a medium to long-term objective given the population is continuing to increase to create more demand for the service. “Typically, public transport is a matter for State Government. “However, if a business or community group wanted to drive a bus beach project to happen in the nearer future, the Shire would be a willing participant in discussions. “Any proposal received would be considered against our available funding pools.” Last week, the Times reported concerns that access to beaches in Prevelly and Gnarabup would only come under more pressure in the near future. The Margaret River Regional Environment Centre said the Luke Saraceni-led resort project did not cater to any visitor or guest parking, despite offering a bar and restaurant at the beachside location. “The application doesn’t have enough parking spaces for its staying guests, residents, staff or day visitors,” MRREC’s Tracy Skippings said. “Good luck getting a parking bay at the beach carparks again.” Margaret River Coastal Residents Association president Adrian Wilson said peak use of beach carparks were lasting longer throughout the year. While he was against the environmental damage and cost of building new coastal carparks, Mr Wilson said some other local governments ran seasonal bus services. “There’s no public transport in Margaret River but a shuttle bus in summer from town or Wallcliffe Road/Caves Road intersection as per the surf comp would give Margaret River residents and visitors an opportunity to access the beach without a long period of searching for a parking spot in the heat, as per this summer,” Mr Wilson said. “There is rapid population growth in the Margaret River Shire with more residents wanting to access the only safe beach on the coast. “The locals must compete with a corresponding increasing number of visitors.” Mr Wilson also agreed the resort, not supported by the residents’ group, would heap pressure on existing amenities.