The new deal between Arts Margaret River and the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River will see an end to a grant-funding scheme for local groups to access the Margaret River Heart. The Shire council officially inked the deal with the region’s premier arts group last week after months of negotiations preparing for Arts Margaret River to take over management of the venue, despite being ousted from the site after it was redeveloped in 2019. Shire corporate and community services director James Shepherd told the Times the decision to end the Heart grants came amid a wider review of the shire’s grant schemes. “The review of all of the Shire’s grant funding rounds is ongoing and will be complete by the end of February 2023,” he said. “In relation to Heart grants, these will be discontinued as part of the new co-management arrangements with Arts Margaret River who will take on the development, management and delivery of the Heart’s program of events. “(This) includes the development of fees and charges for use of the venue, which will be set to support fair and equitable community access.” The Shire caved to community sentiment after councillors last year authorised a $40,000 consultants’ review of the centre which found widespread community angst, including steep fees and last-minute charges which repelled some users.