The Shire’s acting chief executive Graeme Davis has been forced to defend against a fresh raft of calls that the local government was neglecting and short-changing communities outside of Margaret River. Recent activism from the Gracetown-Cowaramup Bay Community association and community groups in Augusta saw claims the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River was far too focused on Margaret River and going slow, if not back-pedalling on projects in outlying hamlets. Gracetown residents want action on Cowaramup Bay’s derelict carpark and more facilities promised back when State developer LandCorp had plans for its 140-lot subdivision off Salter Street. Augusta residents cited a raft of projects which included the recent council childcare decision, upgrades to its recreation centre, the neglected local skate park, amenities on the southern end of the Wadandi Track, and the long-delayed dual-use path to the Leeuwin lighthouse. Augusta community worker and River Festival co-ordinator Carolyn Tenardi said the Shire sold a ratepayer-owned asset to fund the lighthouse walk and residents were stumped about what was taking so long. “The Wadandi Trail, a 25-year-old project, from the Augusta end is (also) a real concern,” she said. “The clearing permit has now expired. It is of considerable cultural importance for our region. “As a parent, a business owner and a volunteer, I am very disappointed by the lack of investment in Augusta by our council and Shire that provide direct benefit to our community.” Community Resource Centre co-ordinator Carmel Norris said a stakeholder group kept in contact with the Shire to keep pressure on “either longstanding or high importance” issues which included the hamlet’s main street and the Ellis Street precinct. Former Shire president Mike Smart said revenue from the two Shire-owned Augusta caravan parks could fund the local projects. “The budget had initially indicated spending another $500,000 from that reserve on maintenance and upgrades in the parks,” he said. “This didn’t happen and has been removed from the current budget as well. “We were promised support for a number of projects by most of the elected councillors prior to the last election, but some are not delivering,” he told the Times. GCBC member Brian Sierakowski said the Shire had “disrespected” Gracetown residents. “The Shire has failed dismally in serving that community,” he said. “The Shire has done nothing and in some instances has simply applied a bandaid approach to glaring and dangerous issues.” Mr Sierakowski took issue with the latest rates notice talking up community benefits he believed Gracetown mostly didn’t receive.