Residents appeased by Shire of Augusta-Margaret River upgrade to Riverslea’s Farmhouse Park

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

The Shire of Augusta-Margaret River has sought to reassure residents adjacent to Riverslea’s much loved Farmhouse Park after an overhaul of the site stirred alarm last week.

Uproar at removal of lawns and expansion of planted areas quickly led to a petition attracting dozens of signatures before an urgent meeting brokered a peace deal.

Concerns were sparked when Shire garden crews started the overhaul to expand beds and include stone fruit trees, but at the cost of some of the lawns beloved by children and families in surrounding streets.

Shire works manager James Taylor said some of the existing trees were in poor condition.

“For a project of this size, we don’t normally undertake a public consultation although we will be engaging with the community to help select the fruit trees to be planted,” he said.

“We expect the project to be completed by spring.

“The amount of lawn will be reduced by 12 per cent, but there will still be plenty of space for children to run around or kick a footy.”

Residents took to social media as the first works unfurled, voicing complaints at the apparent scale of the lawn removal and criticising the Shire for not managing the gardens better and encroaching on where owners exercised dogs.

“Personally we love the open spaces for our children to run around and kick balls,” neighbour Tegan Simmonds said.

“Lots of people utilise it for a dog exercise area too. There’s already beautiful gardens. Leave the lawn.”

Affected resident Joe Burton quickly launched a petition to combat the project that started catching residents unawares.

But Mr Burton then entered talks with the local government, who he told the Times were “extremely helpful”.

“We have come to a mutual agreement,” he said.

The Shire later put out a statement saying it had met with concerned residents to allay concerns.

“We’ve met with several local residents this morning to get their feedback and will accommodate their suggestions where possible,” Mr Taylor said.

“We’ll also be engaging with the local community about the types of fruit trees we intend to plant in coming weeks.”

The majority of the project was expected to finish by the end of April, with planting during winter.

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