Petition to combat resort plan

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
Lindsey Cowen, with daughter Maya, signs the Preserve Gnarabup petition for Marigold owner Lotti St Clair-Ford.
Camera IconLindsey Cowen, with daughter Maya, signs the Preserve Gnarabup petition for Marigold owner Lotti St Clair-Ford. Credit: Warren Hately

Residents will be called on to add their names to a growing petition campaigning against the proposed five-star resort at Gnarabup.

Backed by Surfrider Margaret River, the Preserve Gnarabup petition is the group’s next step in its opposition to the project, which also involves development of mixed-use residential and tourism apartments on the Margaret River coast.

The petition debuted at the well-attended Preserve Gnarabup rally earlier this month, and will go before WA Parliament after August 7, with an aim for more than 2000 endorsements.

Campaign spokeswoman Beth Carlessi said another petition with more than 20,000 online signatories, started by Mandurah woman Katie Rowe, was not in a format suitable for tabling in Parliament. “If you want to see the Gnarabup headland protected as a wild, undeveloped piece of coast, please sign the petition,” she said.

Preserve Gnarabup also encouraged residents to lobby Shire of Augusta-Margaret River councillors for their support, with council backing needed to see an alternative scheme amendment put forward rezoning the Westin Margaret River Spa & Resort land to nature reserve — and triggering potential multimillion-dollar compensation to developer Luke Saraceni and partners.

Preserve Gnarabup group solicitor Clare Gleeson said the rezoning bid was lodged to protect the site against future sea-level rises, and to preserve the amenity of coastal users, with increased visitation from the resort likely to add pressure to the beach, boat ramp, and existing carparks, as well as the local environment.

Ms Gleeson also flagged bushfire safety for Gnarabup and the protection of Aboriginal heritage as key points.

“We are not anti-development,” she said.

“This site just doesn’t make sense for development.

“The local government has the power to reserve the land and halt the development. The current proposal ofthe 120-room resort is only the beginning.

“Many people don’t realise that the developer is planning to build residential and tourism housing on the lots adjacent to the resort site.”

The petition is available at Marigold Boutique and the Urban Bean Cafe in Margaret River, Black Sheep Deli in Cowaramup, and Daily Eats in East Perth.

Businesses keen to host their own hard-copy petition should contact admin@pre servegnarabup.org.au.

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