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Margaret River Golf Club asks for alternatives amid ‘expensive’ cemetery expansion plans

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
The Shire of Augusta-Margaret River.
Camera IconThe Shire of Augusta-Margaret River. Credit: Warren Hately/Augusta-Margaret River Times

Concerns are brewing about the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River’s plans to expand the town’s cemetery.

Amid rapid population growth, the Shire is undertaking work to prepare for a future exit of residents that will trigger community consultation and a possible expansion for the Wallcliffe Road precinct.

But speakers at last week’s council meeting voiced concerns about bush clearing to offer that permanent rest, while leaders from the Margaret River Golf Club said the Shire’s vision could cost the club up to $300,000 — and the Shire should pay.

Club president Ian Chidgey said members had maintained and enhanced a swathe of land buffering the golf course from the existing cemetery for about 70 years.

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He said the master plan had “extensive and expensive ramifications on the operations of the MRGC”.

While the Shire managed that reserve, it was volunteers and the club’s own resources that maintained the buffer earmarked for a possible expansion of cemetery plots.

“In our view, it is not unreasonable for the club to ask council to pay all costs associated with changes that will be required to the course,” Mr Chidgey said.

The club president said the first the committee heard about the plan was the week before the council meeting and it sparked concerns about the cost to realign the second and ninth holes.

Safety was also paramount, with balls hit into that buffer daily, Mr Chidgey said.

Shire chief executive Stephanie Addison-Brown reassured residents consultation was part of the master plan process, but that was unable to begin before councillors gave the project their blessing.

Resident Diane Fisher also asked Shire officers to consider sustainability options within the 50-year master plan, including prioritisation of memorials amid her concerns bush clearing would be the first option.

Councillors added a request for the master plan to come back to them with the results from the consultation.

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