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Smiths Beach at risk from humans, not nature

14 March 2007

by Frank Gaschk to the Busselton~Dunsborough Mail (draft)
Edited-for-space published version here

In a recent advertisement a coastal land developer claims as 'fact' things that are untrue. This can be seen as an attempt by the developer to tell the community what to think and to apply a thin smear of crumbling render on a ruined "trust us" façade, by attacking a community volunteer who questions their plans.

The developer persists in personal attacks rather than presenting repeatedly requested information (where are the pictures of the proposed buildings on the hill?), thereby allowing people to make up their own minds. That is the community advocate approach.

The most recent bulletin shot at this letter writer has been dealt with on

Scanning across the same newspaper page as the developer's anonymously written advertisement (p.6 the Mail, 07/03/07) to the news content, there is a picture of a man in a panama hat and dark glasses, a disgraced ex-Premier of WA. Brian Burke is a consultant lobbyist that the coastal developer had employed on a success fee basis. The disclosure of that success fee, being based on maximising the number of building lots on the Smiths Beach development site, crushed any illusion held by a community consulting in good faith for an appropriately sized development in sympathy with the location and environment.

The resignation of three respected Busselton Shire councillors is covered in a report on the same page. It is one of many reports about the 'facts' and shockwaves from the CCC investigations; a tremor that started at Smiths Beach but has now shaken many branches of Australian government, dropping some , but not all, corrupted fruit to the ground along with community trust and now the collateral damage of some good people.

There is no joy in making that observation just the shock that the actions of a coastal land developer could trigger such community disruptive and politically destabilising events.

Thankfully, we, the concerned community, are dealing with the flaws of human beings and not facing forces of nature. The immediate future ruin of scenic, natural Smiths Beach appears not fated to be by earthquake, tsunami, or cyclone. Natural disasters are out of our control. The actions of human beings, we can do something about.

The key, in planning the future for Smiths Beach, is that people remain aware of the issue and take the time to dissect any developer's advertised claims of 'fact'. Concerned citizens are well able to form their own opinion from the information presented.

Consider how the community opponents (to inappropriate development) compare to this Smiths Beach developer; including what tactics have been employed over the years, whose historical claims time has proven to be facts, what has been revealed by the corruption investigations reported in the media. From this, a fair-minded person may resolve where to place their trust and how they will respond during the public submission period when the latest development plan is presented for comment.

Finally please consider this; bad things happen when good citizens remain silent. Bullies get their way, if no-one stands up to them.

Yours in community,
Frank Gaschk

© Copyright 2007 by Frank Gaschk. This letter is the final draft of a shorter letter published. The draft was edited by the newspaper for space.

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