This morning’s water protest, which took place at Gnarabup Beach — Margaret River’s only safe swimming bay — was organised by the Preserve Gnarabup group.
The group is trying to stop Saracen Properties, which is owned by Luke Saraceni, from turning the headland into a proposed housing estate and 120-room resort, arguing it will affect flora and fauna including the critically-endangered Western Ringtail Possum, increase the need for more public infrastructure due to an increased population, and restrict beach access for locals.
They also claim the Gnarabup Headland includes an Aboriginal heritage site on one of the lots.
Preserve Gnarabup spokeswoman Beth Carlessi said the group understood there was a need for development in the region but opposed this particular area being turned into a housing estate and resort.
“Gnarabup is already an extremely highly-used community and tourism asset,” she said.
“It is often crowded with beachgoers – even in winter.
“There are other places in the Margaret River region to build a resort and luxury housing.
“We are not opposed to development. We know WA is in a state of economic recovery from COVID-19. We ask the developer, Luke Saraceni and Saracen Properties, to look at one of the many other sites in our region. This site means too much to our community.”
Preserve Gnarabup has asked the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River to reserve the land or compulsorily acquire it.
The Shire Council will consider the group’s proposal at a meeting in December.