WHAT WE’RE FIGHTING FOR

Protecting our land for future generations by rezoning the lots to public reserve.

WHAT WE’RE FIGHTING FOR

Protecting our land for future generations by rezoning the lots to public reserve.

WHAT WE’RE FIGHTING FOR

Protecting our land for future generations by rezoning the lots to public reserve.

THE LAND

A natural coastal headland with untouched coastal vegetation.


The land.
Why the proposal doesnt work.
What we stand for.

Gnarabup is the only protected swimming beach on Margaret River’s coastline, famous for its big swells and often dangerous swimming conditions.

The Gnarabup Beach area is a vital community asset that is precious to locals and visitors from throughout Western Australia, Australia and the world and local tourism business operators.

Gnarabup is the main public swimming beach for Margaret River. Many generations of local people have learnt to swim in its protected bay. As the only protected bay on the coastal strip between Gracetown and Hamelin Bay, Gnarabup is the only safe beach for children, is home to numerous swim clubs, Royal Lifesaving WA swimming lessons, and WA Surf lifesaving training. The Gnarabup beach area is so heavily used, that on any sunny day, and many cloudy ones, beachgoers struggle to find a parking spot at either of the two carparks.


Despite common opinion that Margaret River is a wealthy community, in fact, the permanent community has a particularly low average household income. Public assets like the protected Gnarabup Beach that are free to use are incredibly important to this community.

“The current proposal of the 120-room resort is only the beginning. Many people don’t realise that the Developer is planning to build residential and tourism villas on the lots adjacent to the resort site. The resort is just the start.”

WHY THE PROPOSAL
DOESN’T WORK

Preserve Gnarabup holds major concerns that the development will impact the character of the locality. There are also concerns for impacts on local fauna and flora, the fragile limestone cliffs in the area, cliff erosion from rising sea levels as well the loss of an Aboriginal place that has been identified by Traditional Owners and lodged with the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage for assessment as a registered site.

Preserve Gnarabup proposes the local infrastructure of Gnarabup is under-equipped to house this extensive and intensive hotel, permanent residential and tourism housing development. They also cite a lack of adequate fire safety measures.

Rising sea levels are already impacting the beach at Gnarabup and Back Beach to the south. Every year, the decking outside the small café at the Gnarabup has to be repaired or replaced after high swells wash its footings loose much like the carpark that has been washed away at Port Beach in North Fremantle over recent winters. The beach has become narrower and steeper in recent years.

The Shire of Augusta Margaret River’s detailed 2015 modelling of the impact of rising sea levels on this strip of coast, the Coastal Hazard Risk Management and Adaptation Plan, shows that Gnarabup Beach, the headland, Back Beach, the limestone cliffs and parts of the lots proposed for development fall within the 100 year allowance for coastal processes zone. Gnarabup and Back Beach and all public access areas fall within the 10 and 20-year allowance zones. Should this development go ahead it will create a further barrier to the coast and public access to these beaches will be impacted within decades.

WHAT WE STAND FOR

In July 2020 an application was lodged to rezone the lots to public reserve and/or compulsorily acquire the lots.

The basis of the proposal is:

  • The presence of a registered aboriginal heritage site on one of the lots;
  • The increase in sea level from climate change which will necessitate land being required for foreshore/public use at Gnarabup and Back beaches;

  • The decrease in amenity and impact on the character of the locality by the development of the lots;

  • The impact of the increased population on public infrastructure in Gnarabup;

  • the lack of adequate fire safety measures in Gnarabup;

  • The views of the traditional owners.

Hundreds of people turning out to rally for the protection of Gnarabup.
18th July 2020.
Photos Kelly Harwood.

OUR PLEA TO THE WESTERN AUSTRALIAN STATE GOVERNMENT

We understand that the McGowan Labor Western Australian State Government was elected on a platform of extending the value of the tourism industry in WA. Given this, and the current economic impact of COVID-19, we understand that the promise of a $70million five-star resort would be very attractive to the Government.

However, we believe the hotel is just a promised attraction that may never eventuate in the current environment.

The Developer’s main interest is the potential financial returns if he can overcome decades of planning advice through gaining approval for a significant number of permanent residential housing sites on the lots. Expected financial returns from residential property development are much higher than for hotels, with faster return on investment. Further residential development on this fragile coast is something the area doesn’t need. There are already many thousands of properties listed for sale across the Augusta-Margret River Shire. Property prices have been depressed since the peak of the property boom more than a decade ago.

The Premier’s 10 June 2020 press release pointed to the jobs the project would create, which we note are relatively small and short lived. Many thousands of local people and visitors are of the view that the site is worth far more as an undeveloped headland. In its current wild state it is a tourist attraction, indigenous cultural site, highly used community asset and fragile relatively untouched environmental system threatened by rising sea levels and climate change.

Another five-star tourism development is currently being planned just a couple of kilometres away at the site of the historic Wallcliffe house, which tragically burnt down in the 2011 fire. There are also numerous other more suitable sites for tourism development in the area.

The recent passage of new planning legislation gives Western Australian Planning Commission and the Minister of Planning unprecedented power to expedite approval processes for developments. We ask the McGowan Government to consider the long and enduring importance of this land to so many normal Western Australians when it considers this inappropriate development.

We understand that the McGowan Labor Western Australian State Government was elected on a platform of extending the value of the tourism industry in WA. Given this, and the current economic impact of COVID-19, we understand that the promise of a $70million five-star resort would be very attractive to the Government.

However, we believe the hotel is just a promised attraction that may never eventuate in the current environment. The Developer’s main interest is the potential financial returns if he can overcome decades of planning advice through gaining approval for a significant number of permanent residential housing sites on the lots. Expected financial returns from residential property development are much higher than for hotels, with faster return on investment. Further residential development on this fragile coast is something the area doesn’t need. There are already many thousands of properties listed for sale across the Augusta-Margret River Shire. Property prices have been depressed since the peak of the property boom more than a decade ago.

The Premier’s 10 June 2020 press release pointed to the jobs the project would create, which we note are relatively small and short lived. Many thousands of local people and visitors are of the view that the site is worth far more as an undeveloped headland. In its current wild state it is a tourist attraction, indigenous cultural site, highly used community asset and fragile relatively untouched environmental system threatened by rising sea levels and climate change.

We also note that another five-star tourism development is currently being planned just a couple of kilometres away at the site of the historic Wallcliffe house, which tragically burnt down in the 2011 fire. There are also numerous other more suitable sites for tourism development in the area.

We understand that the recent passage of new planning legislation gives Western Australian Planning Commission and the Minister of Planning unprecedented power to expedite approval processes for developments. We ask the McGowan Government to consider the long and enduring importance of this land to so many normal Western Australians when it considers this inappropriate development.

YOU CAN HELP

TAKE
ACTION.

Lobby and attend events.

MAKE A
PLEDGE.

Help fund the campaign.

WEAR IT
PROUD.

Purchase a hoodie and sticker.