Filming, fires and ‘rampage’

Taelor PeluseyBusselton Dunsborough Times

January

Busselton was announced as the main filming location for Go Karts – a feature-length film directed by Owen Trevor and written by Steve Worland.

Efforts to control the arum lily and 14 other invasive species were abandoned by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.

Four people were stranded at sea overnight after losing engine and electrical power on their 14m sailing boat and floating out of cellphone ranger.

More than 40 bags of rubbish were collected from Busselton and Dunsborough beaches from Boxing Day celebrations, prompting calls for a harder line on litterers in the lead-up to Australia day.

February

Gas explorer CalEnergy pulled the pin on activities at Whicher Range, announcing it was not worth forging ahead and the wells would be cemented shut.

Firefighters said they were worried about fuel loads in Yallingup, believing it was only a matter of time before the area experienced a major bushfire.

The City of Busselton officially abandoned use of “the Margaret River region” in marketing strategies and instead adopted “the Busselton-Margaret River region” - a move welcomed by Busselton residents who have long lamented to the Margaret River focus in tourism strategies..

Busselton Girl Guides and Sea Scouts were handed vacate notices to make way for the controversial Eastern Link, which even now has not been approved by Government agencies.

March

The Busselton Museum caught fire just weeks after celebrating the building’s 100th anniversary, with numerous historical items destroyed.

Up to 90 per cent of Capes-based ATAR graduates were believed to have taken a gap year because strict eligibility criteria for youth allowance meant they could not afford to live away from home; unlike their Perth counterparts who often stayed in their family home.

Filming for the Naked Wanderer took place at Cape Naturaliste lighthouse.

A boy allegedly stamped on another students head at a local high school. The victim recovered and the perpetrator was expelled.

April

This month marked four decades since tropical cyclone Alby destroyed the Busselton Jetty almost beyond repair.

Bee colonies in Busselton and Vasse were dying, and apiarists blamed insecticide use.

The ball got rolling Dunsborough’s final stage of townscape improvements, which went on to include a realignment of streets, the formation of more green space and a view to make the town more pedestrian friendly.

The region experienced a bizarre spike in abandoned cars, and backpackers copped the blame.

May

Two further alleged assaults at a local school highlighted the need for more support. Calls went out to prevent police being tied up providing security in court, and for youth crime officers at schools.

Pilots signalled concern about new aprons at the Busselton-Margaret River Airport, but the City of Busselton reassured it was all part of the plan and loose materials would be swept and rolled continuously for a period of time.

Tourism operators said whale watching needed to be a bigger focus of tourism strategies, with the region boasting one of the longest whale watching seasons in the world.

A three-day coronial inquest was conducted into the disappearance and suspected death of internet cult leader Gary Felton, his partner, their daughter and a friend. The coroner said he was unable to say whether the people at the centre of the decade-long mystery were alive or dead.

June

WA’s police union slammed a decision to pull the only two police officers from Nannup to provide security at Busselton’s courthouse in the wake of an alleged “rampage” in the small South West town, which saw a man fire a gun at the police station.

Ten years since the plan was first presented, a waterfront café was approved for Dunsborough’s foreshore.

The Busselton Chamber of Commerce and Industry began working on ways to share the bustling foreshore’s foot traffic with the CBD to improve outcomes for struggling retailers.

Fire authorities urged landholders to be more careful after a series or fires were determined to be the result of escaped burn-offs.

July

Tourism operators said they were concerned by the Margaret River-Busselton Tourism Association’s purchase of a private tourism attraction, which cost $750,000.

Uber revealed it would expand into Busselton, but local taxi drivers were concerned by what it meant for their business.

Labor sweetened the deal for Qantas to establish its pilot training academy at the Busselton-Margaret River Airport, vowing to immediately build the stalled $13 million terminal if the site was selected.

Wild weather and potentially record-setting waves lashed the Capes. The Department of Transport’s Cape Naturaliste buoy recorded a 12.2m swell and 14.66 sea (wind-generated) waves.

August

A three-lake wakeboarding park proposed for Annibrook was rejected by Busselton City Council. The developers said they would consider their options, including alternative locations.

A Vasse man who detained and repeatedly raped a woman he met via Facebook was jailed for seven years and four months.

A new report found drug, particularly opiod, related deaths quadrupled in Busselton, Dunsborough, Augusta and Margaret River in recent years.

Legislative changes which increased the level of permitted THC in industrial hemp was expected to be a big boon for Capes growers.

September

Tourism Minister Paul Papalia said airport stakeholders were “sold a pup” and no airlines were interested in direct flights from Busselton to the East Coast.

Swiss sustainable investor SUSI committed $12.5 million to WA’s first virtual power plant, proposed for Dunsborough.

A 5.7 magnitude earthquake activated a dormant fault between Kojonup and Walpole, and was felt locally. Geoscience said it could pave the way for more tremors.

Busselton was not selected to host Qantas’ pilot training academy but a second academy is still on the table. The City of Busselton said it would refine its bid and keep pushing for the second.

Cinefest rolled out the red carpet from Bunbury to Augusta, with Busselton once again serving as the heart of the popular film festival.

October

A 600-person capacity performing art centre experienced a renewed push, with a Federal funding application lodged and new concept designs developed.

Busselton Jetty unveiled plans to build a village made primarily of shipping containers almost 2km out to sea.

The State Government signalled support for a parliamentary inquiry into Airbnb following long-running and much-lamented disruption to the Capes accommodation market.

Vandals and thieves targeted the historic Ludlow forestry mill and settlement, with electrical wiring, veranda posts, antique equipment and even walls and roofs stolen.

Busselton man Sam Riley was found dead in his home, prompting a month-long investigation.

November

Dunsborough’s Chris Lane was part of a rag-tag team of modern day explorers that uncovered what is believed to be the world’s first verifiable artefact from the HMS Beagle.

More than 100 people signed up to Dunsboruogh’s virtual power plant, signalling the start of the project. The investors then said they would then expand to any willing South West town.

The partner of Kierran Bush, who died on Kaloorup Road in July, made an impassioned plea for decision makers to come together immediately to improve the road’s safety.

Dunsborough’s lack of non-potable water and utility price hikes have led to water bills skyrocketing for schools, sporting ovals and clubs. Dunsborough Primary School’s bill hit $84,000 for the year.

December

Busselton City Mayor Grant Henley took his prostate cancer battle to encourage more men to be proactive about their health.

A 31-year-old Geographe man was charged with murder over the death of West Busselton man Sam Riley.

ABS statistics shows the Capes region boasts some of the fastest-growing towns in regional Australia, including Margaret River and Busselton.

Premiership winners, the Eagles, visited hordes of adoring fans when their training camp was hosted in Busselton.

More Pictures:

Trevor Fitzgerald was part of the team that helped save the Busselton Jetty.
Camera IconTrevor Fitzgerald was part of the team that helped save the Busselton Jetty. Credit: Picture: Chloe Fraser, Chloe Fraser Busselton-Dunsborough Times
CinefestOZ marketing intern Jessica Barnes, film coordinator Chanel Bowen and events coordinator Cass Jordan raise a glass as they countdown to the iconic film festival.
Camera IconCinefestOZ marketing intern Jessica Barnes, film coordinator Chanel Bowen and events coordinator Cass Jordan raise a glass as they countdown to the iconic film festival. Credit: Busselton-Dunsborough Times, Taelor Pelusey
Busselton City Mayor Grant Henley went public with his prostate cancer diagnosis to encourage other men to prioritise their health.
Camera IconBusselton City Mayor Grant Henley went public with his prostate cancer diagnosis to encourage other men to prioritise their health. Credit: Busselton-Dunsborough Times, Taelor Pelusey
Surfers couldn’t capitalise on the monster swell in the traditional sense, but a few brave souls dared to surf from Canal Rocks bridge.
Camera IconSurfers couldn’t capitalise on the monster swell in the traditional sense, but a few brave souls dared to surf from Canal Rocks bridge. Credit: Frank Cotton of Natural Reflections Photography
Dunsborough Community Community Energy Project lead activator has been a key player in securing WA’s first virtual power plant for Dunsborough.Picture: Taelor Pelusey
Camera IconDunsborough Community Community Energy Project lead activator has been a key player in securing WA’s first virtual power plant for Dunsborough.Picture: Taelor Pelusey Credit: Busselton-Dunsborough Times
City of Busselton emplooyees Tanya Downie and Kate Willott, along with Coralie Tarbotton were excited to see the Premiership Cup and met Eagles’ community engagement officers James Grabski and Brad Dalziel.
Camera IconCity of Busselton emplooyees Tanya Downie and Kate Willott, along with Coralie Tarbotton were excited to see the Premiership Cup and met Eagles’ community engagement officers James Grabski and Brad Dalziel. Credit: Busselton-Dunsborough Times, Taelor Pelusey

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