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Look at what we have now

05 September 2006

Letter to the Editor, Busselton~Dunsborough Mail

The wild west coast. Beautiful Smiths Beach. These evocative words create imagery. They attempt to start to describe a sense of place.

However, this is just one letter from one person in the community. The sense of place needs further evidence. I encourage those interested in the impending changes to Smiths Beach to take time now to explore the current, accepted, landscape images that evoke a community pride and sense of place. They are soon to change.

Consider flipping through 'The Mail' property guide. Do the images of coastal landscape catch your eye or the buildings? If you read the words you will see the importance of views, ocean glimpses, water, trees, space. These are essential elements in creating the sense of place of a community held idyll.

Consider using the Internet and search images of "Smiths Beach". They show minimal human impact. The human impacts shown are humans on a beach. Not buildings. The images portrayed are humans in a natural, scenic environment. When the humans leave the beach, the natural beauty remains to be enjoyed on another day.

Buildings are not so removable; they take their place in the view and have permanent impact upon the sense of place. Exploring these thoughts is important in forming a personal view on what seachange will bring to our shire.

Seachange brings more permanent human impacts, such as sharp-edged, fashion-driven buildings in a natural, scenic place. A place sculpted since forever by the ocean elements. The resultant changes that fast bring extinct the enjoyment of an idyllic, existent now, natural sense of place.

Don't look south. Don't look to the next beach bay to regain a lost feeling, as human impacts have found their way there as well. Please take the time to think. Does the shire, do we, need visually impacting buildings in important scenic places? The seachange at Smiths Beach will bring changes, visual impacts to an important place. It will be public comment that will encourage or mitigate the degree of the impact of seachange.

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