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Set your media marketeer to stun

14 November 2005

Letter to the Editor, Busselton~Dunsborough Mail

"Smiths Beach delayed again" (The Mail, 2/11/05) A headline that can be read out loud with a wry smile or a grunt of frustration.

Either way, it is evident that the plans presented to the council planners for the Smiths Beach development were inappropriate. Despite the use of calming, diluting adjectives by the developer's spokespeople, the "small number of points" and "minor" changes required for the new plan are major enough for the developer to seek a deferral of having the plan considered by Council.

It was only a fortnight previous that readers faced the headline "Smiths motion slammed" (The Mail, 19/10/05), where a motion put in haste at a Shire Council meeting to release the new development plan was comprehensibly kyboshed. Even to the point where the councillor who put the motion voted against it. The Shire President's comments provided interesting reading, " ... the genesis of this motion is driven by self-interest. To carry the motion is a step towards legal quicksand."

The developer's spokesperson continues to push that the plan needs to be released. Even though it is clearly evident, after months of high profile advertising and media marketing that the developer was still proposing an inappropriate plan.

It appears the developer has squandered almost five years to get the basic planning correct so that the development meets starting point legal requirements. At the same time they asked the community to trust their loudly trumpeted claim of: "a stunning world class development..."

I'm glad that the planning staff at the Shire, their consultants and representatives of state government were not so easily stunned.

Trust is a rare and fragile community commodity and should be bestowed after detailed research and from a position of knowledge. It should not be given up in the face of a media marketing campaign barrage.

Well done to the Smiths Beach Action Group representatives for standing up to the bluster these past few weeks. You represent the community well.

The last 10 weeks have been an interesting rehearsal for the imminent real community debate on the development at Smiths Beach. I hope to see the passionate, and the levelheaded, community comment again soon. Most of all I encourage your involvement.

Frank Gaschk

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