BEACH Too expensive

Jackson Lavell-LeeBusselton Dunsborough Times
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163 concerned residents have signed a petition calling for a special electors meeting regarding the City of Busselton's BEACH development.
Camera Icon163 concerned residents have signed a petition calling for a special electors meeting regarding the City of Busselton's BEACH development.

More than 150 City of Busselton ratepayers are calling for a special convenors meeting to address the expenses of the proposed Busselton Entertainment Arts Cultural Hub development.

The Busselton Dunsborough Ratepayers Action Group has garnered support from former mayor Ian Stubbs and former councillors Anne Ryan and Gordon Bleechmore.

A petition was submitted to City of Busselton Mayor Grant Henley by Ms Ryan on Wednesday afternoon with 163 signatures seeking the special meeting to repeal the council’s decision to move forward with the BEACH development.

The action group is a direct response to a letter written to the Times by Dunsborough resident Fred Van Ranzow who was contacted by a concerned group of residents wishing to address the “severe reservations held by ratepayers over the expense of the BEACH development”.

“We might not be able to stop it but we are going to try to take them to task to address the finances,” he said.

Mr Van Ranzow said although the group had requested a special convenors meeting with councillors with 163 signatures, more members were needed to be heard on other financial issues.

“Hopefully an influx of concerned ratepayers would like to join our group and challenge the BEACH project’s expenditure and ask City staff to reassess the expenses and estimated patronage” he said.

City of Busselton chief executive Mike Archer said the City would listen to ratepayers’ concerns over the expenses estimated in the BEACH development if an electors meeting was convened. “The City will certainly be open to discussion in an electors meeting if one is convened,” he said.

The Times understands the petition was signed by more than 100 concerned residents within hours of the action group forming.

Ms Ryan said the community had not been consulted over the project since 2016 and a special convenors meeting was needed.

The City of Busselton’s online newsletter, Bay to Bay, was not an adequate form of consultation, she said.

“The BEACH project is too expensive and it is not an essential piece of infrastructure,” she said.

“Why are we going into competition with private business over a conference space?

“We support councillor (Sue) Riccelli’s questioning of the project.

“We invite the community to come along to talk about the project.

“Obviously there are people for it but the overwhelming majority are against it, especially considering the additional $9.5 million cost.”

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