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Smiths plan pickle

16 November 2006

by Robert Turner, Busselton Margaret River Times

The Busselton Shire Council will fulfil its statutory obligation and hear the Development Guide Plan submitted by controversial Smiths Beach developer Canal Rocks Pty Ltd next month, says shire president Kevin Douglas.

All eyes will be on the December 13 council meeting as the application is considered in light of the CCC hearings.

Several councillors have testified they were heavily lobbied by Brian Burke, Julian Grill and Noel Crichton-Browne on behalf of Canal Rocks.

Public comment, including that of former shire president Beryle Morgan, has questioned whether the council was the right body to consider the application fairly.

The question of how Busselton councillors would approach the item was put by the Busselton Margaret River Times this week.

Cr Douglas said he had no interest to declare and would consider the recommendation brought before council. His decision would be based on the merit of what is being considered with regard for all issues relating to the proposal.

Cr Helen Shervington also said she had no interest to declare.

"As with other planning applications, I believe the record will show I have always followed this process when dealing with any matter to do with the Smiths Beach development proposal," she said.

"When the matter returns to council I will apply my best endeavours to dealing with it yet again in a fair and objective manner."

Cr Brian Box said he would probably abstain from the vote. He said he was in favour of an acceptable level of development at Smiths Beach and was critical of the way the anti-Smiths Beach development groups had "played the game".

"Therefore, as I have a prejudice against the Save the Smiths Beach group, who are not acting for the good of the community but have their own agenda, I will probably abstain from voting," he said, although he added he would seek legal advice before making his final decision.

Cr Bev Clarke said she would not be declaring an interest and would debate and vote on the item as did Crs Wes Hartley and Bethwyn Hastie.

Cr Alan MacGregor said he would do as he always had done in regards to Smiths Beach and leave the room.

Other councillors contacted for comment - CRS Anne Ryan, Philippa Reid, John Triplett, Don Hanran-Smith and David Barton - either could not or did not choose to reply.

It is believed the council would have the quorum of seven required to hear the item if those who admitted at the CCC hearing to being lobbied left the council chamber.

Copyright 2006 by Busselton Margaret River Times. 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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Appropriate development is SBAG's agenda

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