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Pressure builds at Gnarabup

PLANNING and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan has failed to cool community concerns regarding development on coastal land in Gnarabup.

Ms MacTiernan recently visited Gnarabup to hear concerns from the community and the Augusta Margaret River Shire about the development.

A fire that raced through the coastal site on the weekend has further fuelled the heated debate over the future of the land west of Wallcliffe Road.

A leading community member, who is opposed to the development, claims the State Government is putting pressure on the local shire to amend the town-planning scheme. It’s understood an amendment would allow the Gnarabup Beach development to continue beyond the initial sub-division.

“All the council has been put under a lot of pressure to change the town planning scheme, from both the State Government and the developer,” he said.

“The reason the State Government is putting pressure on is because the State Planning Commission approved the development. If they get put in a position where they find the development is no longer allowed, the WA Planning Commission could find it’s liable.”

There is significant resistance in the community to development on the site, with a public rally organised earlier this week to convince the council to retain the town planning scheme.

Leeuwin Conservation Group spokesperson Lyn Serventy said the community was very disappointed with the outcome of the minister’s visit.

“In effect what she’s (Alannah MacTiernan) suggesting, and we feel pressuring the council to do, is amend the town planning scheme,” Ms Serventy said.

“The core of the town planning scheme is a clause that states that Gnarabup can’t be more than a certain size.”

Following the visit to Gnarabup, Ms MacTiernan signalled that laws allowing the WA Planning Commission to ignore local government town planning schemes would be abandoned by the end of the year.

Gnarabup Beach chairman Mark Hohnen said the relevant zoning for the development went through in 1993.

He said the only opposition to the development was coming from four local people who headed up the Leeuwin Conservation Group.

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