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Smiths Beach plan defended

16 Dec 2000

Reports by Steve Butler The West Australian

Tourists and residents will be catered for by the development proposed at Smiths Beach south of Yallingup, according to the developers.

Canal Rocks Pty Ltd has broken its silence to defend the plans for 230 residential lots, 460 holiday units, an outdoor festival area, village and community centre, upgraded coastal paths and public parking.

An extra 8ha from the development area would be dedicated to the adjoining national park.

Chairman David McKenzie said the plan represented 15 years of extensive community consultation and workshops. The total size of the development compared with the Yallingup townsite.

It was designed to cater for growing tourist and residential demand expected in the area over the next 15 to 20 years.

"The development concept produced will ensure extremely high-quality built-form and extensive conservation and revegetation initiatives, minimising overall aesthetic impacts in the area," he said.

Mr McKenzie said the plan would provide real benefits for the area. He hoped the local community would give the developers the chance to detail the positive aspects.

The company would hold two open days and a public meeting during the 60-day advertising period due to start next week.

Land surrounding the pristine Smiths Beach bay had been the subject of several development proposals in recent years.

Owners of the Chandler's Smiths Beach Villas recently withdrew 35ha development plans after their proposal was knocked back twice by Busselton Shire Council.

Mike Chandler, whose family bought 60ha at Smiths Beach in 1979, said he had lost the will to fight after the death of his twin, Tony, in June.

He said he was disgusted when a Busselton shire officer told him a proposal any bigger than 80 short-stay residences would not be considered.

"Our proposal was tasteful and environmentally acceptable," he said. "It's absolutely ridiculous to consider what we were offered and what they (Canal Rocks) have been allowed."

Busselton shire chief executive Michael Swift said the council received plans on Wednesday for a new development at the Canal Rocks Beach Resort.

The 3ha property is for sale and a consultant for a prospective buyer told Mr Swift of plans for a three-storey development.

Bill Mitchell, who was the project manager of the nearby Gunyulgup Valley Estate development, is planning a small tourist venture on his 10ha property behind the Canal Rocks Pty Ltd site.

Mr Mitchell said he would surrender council approval to build a 10-suite guest house on his property and scale down plans for bed and breakfast accommodation.

Mr Swift said there had been a series of proposals at Indijup in the past decade. Two development plans were mooted at Moses Rock in the past three years.

Another controversial development, a 200-unit resort owned by Griffin Coal, is under construction at Bunker Bay, west of Dunsborough.


Retired primary school principal Barry Dufall believes a concrete jungle has destroyed his piece of paradise.

Mr Dufall and his wife, Janet, cringe as they stand on the balcony of their two-storey Gnarabup home and take in what was once a clear view to the ocean.

The view is broken by a residential development which could soon become bigger after a Supreme Court ruling this week.

The court ruled that developer Mark Hohnen's Gnarabup Beach Company could advertise a controversial housing and tourism project which the Augusta-Margaret River Shire Council had refused.

Mr Dufall, vice-president of the Prevelly Wilderness Progress Association, said the development would duplicate city lifestyle in a resort area. He said residents were confident of overturning the Supreme Court ruling if they could appeal.

"We love this place and have a feel for it," Mr Dufall said.

He believed progress and development should not be stopped but the area was unique and pristine and the only thing that "can muck it up is people".

"It's gone from being a wilderness area where mostly young people and overseas visitors loved to reside, to a tourist centre which even tourists hate," he said.

"There's been permanent damage to what the area has to offer and that damage is forever. That's what hurts more than anything else."

Augusta-Margaret River shire commissioner Jim Kelly said yesterday the development was likely to be debated at a meeting on Monday.

Copyright 2000 by West Australian Newspapers Ltd. This report is for information only. No charge for such use is made and the material is not being used for commercial purposes. The text has not been modified from the original report.

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