South West Greens MLC Diane Evers has vowed to continue her campaign on behalf of community calls to protect the South West environment for future generations.
Ms Evers last week when tabled a petition in WA Parliament to halt the controversial resort and housing development proposed for Margaret River’s Gnarabup headland.
“Margaret River is a world-renowned destination, not for its hotel developments, but for its pristine coastal environment and natural landscape,” she said.
“Almost a thousand locals oppose the destruction of the Gnarabup headland for a hotel development, with tens of thousands more lending their voice online.
“In July, I joined with others from the Augusta-Margaret River community when more than 400 people attended a rally at Reuther Park to oppose this proposal.
“This development proposal has caused significant angst in the community, who wish to see the land preserved for public purposes.
Ms Evers urged the WA Government to protect the land and said tourism growth was not a reason to develop the area.
“While it is important to ensure the local tourism trade is able to cater for visitors, this development would diminish amenity and access to valuable community and tourism assets, such as Margaret River’s only protected swimming and recreation beach.
“The message is clear to the McGowan Government: it is crucial that we do not sacrifice such important regional environmental assets,” she said.
Preserve Gnarabup said more than 1000 people signed the petition, with over 20,000 more signatures lending support to the petition through an online equivalent, which is ineligible for consideration by WA Parliament.
“There were 1011 signatures in total, although due to an error in formatting the official tally in the petition that was presented to Parliament was 992 signatures.”
Ms Evers said that an increased understanding of the impacts of climate change including rising sea levels on the Western Australian coastline, as well as the enormous biodiversity importance of the Gnarabup environment, meant the Government must protect the land.
“We need to preserve this coastline and encourage development for areas more suited to sustainability and managed tourism growth,” she said.
“The impact of this town precinct development, with a multinational conglomerate at the centre of the plans, would significantly erode the natural environment and affect existing tourism businesses working hard to succeed in the region.
“Let’s not pave paradise to put up a Marriot.”
The tabling of the petition by Ms Evers comes after the Preserve Gnarabup group raised more than $50,000 in under a fortnight to fund the cost of campaigning to reverse the development, with a $100,000 target in sight.
The campaign aims to fund either the reservation of land or a buy-back of land on Gnarabup headland where the housing estate and resort is proposed.