Three prominent residents have already put up their hands to run for council in this year’s Shire of Augusta-Margaret River election. Burger Baby owner and volunteer firefighter Richard Moroney, conservationist, educator and Nature Conservation Margaret River Region stalwart Tracey Muir, and ex-City of Busselton councillor David Binks all nominated ahead of yesterday’s close of submissions. They will vie for four spots on council along with returning members Ian Earl and Julia Meldrum, with first-term councillor Naomi Godden yet to declare her intention. The region’s rapid growth and key environmental pressures rated a mention from each of the newcomers. Ms Muir will have the youth vote in her favour thanks to years of leading school children through the valued Our Patch conservation project, first with the Cape-to-Cape Catchments Group now known as Nature Conservation. She told the Times council decisions were crucial to the region’s future, including for future generations. “I’ll fight for our region to evolve as a vibrant, connected community where the environment and our sense of place is preserved, with sensible decisions on development, planning and infrastructure,” she said. “With my family, I’m also a small business owner and sustainable almond grower – so I understand the need for an effective, efficient council to support the local economy, small business and agriculture.” Mr Moroney said the shire’s townsites were all at a “critical nexus point”. “The decisions we need to make as we rapidly grow will be important not only to us now, but also for those who will choose to call our shire home in the future,” he said. “I believe in balance, inclusion and informed decisions based on community consultation, research and expert advice that are of benefit to all who live in our shire.” Photographer and small business operator Mr Binks would bring past experience as a councillor to the role he said he sought because “I firmly believe that, as we grow, our community’s development needs to be wisely managed, while exercising responsible stewardship of all our natural and built resources,” he said. Mr Binks also wanted an equal spread of resources across the shire, not just a focus on Margaret River. “It is too easy for smaller communities to feel forgotten in the development of the shire, resulting in an imbalance in the creation of new community projects and distribution of the community’s finances through our rates,” he said. Each candidate said the council was best served by new members representing the diversity of the region, and their own work in business and the community would inform their approach as elected members.