The owner of a Karridale property at the centre of legal action by the Shire says he will contest outdated camping regulations used against him. A two-day wellness event at Mindful Earth Sanctuary off Chapman Road was voluntarily cancelled at the weekend after the Times reported the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River had intervened. The Shire claimed an event held in February posed an “unacceptable” bushfire risk and use of the property, which is a working farm hosting volunteers, breached camping laws. Owner Boh Morel and his partner bought the land more than seven years ago and moved down during the pandemic after an 18-year career as an engineer in the oil and gas industry. Speaking with the Times this week, Mr Morel acknowledged Mindful Earth started off on the wrong foot in February, sparking complaints about noise from neighbours, but he was determined to learn from the experience to provide a “true sanctuary” for his guests as well as the wider community. “There are a lot of learnings coming from that,” he said. “We’re creating a space so people who’ve got creative talents can share those with others. “We want to offer this space where we celebrate life. It’s a sanctuary.” The cancelled weekend event was a wellness festival with 15 facilitators focused on yoga, breathwork, sound healing, acro-yoga and other modalities. Organisers had planned to cut any music component before 10pm and while many people still attended the property – including Augusta Police and Shire rangers — Mr Morel said he ensured his operation complied with the law. Mindful Earth had a bushfire plan, and limited vehicle and machinery use during recent total fire bans, and his mission now was to show the community the sanctuary hosted good neighbours. However, Mr Morel said he would challenge an old law prohibiting camping on private properties within 25km of established caravan parks. “Obviously that’s (designed) not to compete with caravan parks, but the situation is different in the South West now,” he told the Times. Mindful Earth was no different to other venues hosting willing workers volunteering labour in exchange for lodging, and many of his guests were already working in local businesses and in the vineyards during vintage. Against a background of the region’s housing crisis, Mr Morel said Mindful Earth had a right to offer camping when so many businesses were struggling to attract workers because they had no housing. And he said that was preferable to people camping illegally or not coming at all. Additionally, the property hosted international travellers, many of whom had been on the road throughout the pandemic and found Mindful Earth a sanctuary supporting their mental health. “The Shire hasn’t done anything to provide free camping grounds for those travellers,” he said. “You’ve got people staying in the bush.” Mr Morel said the pandemic spurred interest for many people in living closer to nature within a true community setting, not just housing developments. Shire chief executive Stephanie Addison-Brown thanked the community for demonstrating respect and support for to the residents of Karridale. Augusta Police said they “did not have any issues” at the weekend.