Future of Locke Estate (30th November, 2007)
An overwhelming public response to a draft report outlining three possible options for the future of the Locke Estate has highlighted the success of the City of Busselton's stakeholder consultation program in fully engaging the community as a whole.
City of Busselton President, Cr. Wes Hartley, said more than 600 submissions were received from the community and stakeholder groups during the eight week advertising period. Three possible concept plans were presented, covering retention (subject to conditions), consolidation and total reformation of the site.
"We were extremely pleased with the community's interest in contributing ideas for the future of Locke Estate, which is a critical tourism service in the Shire, used by people throughout Western Australia", Cr Hartley said.
"What we have seen is the community and stakeholder groups taking the lead through this consultation program to ‘think outside the box'. The Shire has been provided with innovative ideas that could see the future use and development of this site as a model for sustainable community land use and community/government partnerships providing mutual benefits", Cr. Hartley said.
"As a result of the high number of submissions, it is taking some time for Connell Wagner to incorporate and formulate final conclusions and recommendations based on these submissions."
Shire Councillors received a briefing from Connell Wagner on 21st November, and were advised that the majority of lessees were keen to renew their leases.
Additionally, there were some issues with the management of the leases and the operation of the campsites by some lessees that are on-going and need to be addressed to ensure clear guidelines for future leasing, should this continue.
There were several key themes coming from consultation and background investigation. There was recognition that to do nothing was clearly not an option, for there was a need to improve the environmental and social management of the site, with particular regard to foreshore erosion, lease management and public access.
"Acknowledging the community and public benefit in the current leasing arrangements and capital and social investment by some lessee groups was important, especially considering the strong sense of ownership the community has of the Locke Estate. This response was supported by a strong desire to see provision for the general public to access and enjoy the site", said Cr Hartley.
The Shire officer's report on the future of the Locke Estate will be considered by the Council in late January 2008.
Media enquiries can be directed to the City of Busselton's Public Relations Officer, Julie Rawlings on 97810446 or firstname.lastname@example.org