Pro denies beach access to locals
The planning application for next year and the next five years of the Margaret River Pro surfing contest has been submitted.
It would seem Surfing WA and the World Surf League have lodged this application with very little real information, an even bigger footprint, and longer use of our surfing beaches than in the past — not to mention a very short time period for any public comment.
It seems to be the operating procedure of these companies to take more and give back less.
Their recent threat to take the Pro away from Margaret River and move it to the Mid West seems to be more of a bargaining chip to hang over the heads of our local Shire rather than have any real merit. Business 101.
Using Surfers Point for 31 days to run a six-day event and North Point for 20 days (with a doubling of contest time there to four days) seems excessive.
The recent Margaret River Classic successfully ran over three days, with more competitors involved than the Pro.
The unfortunate events last year and the cancellation of the Pro (which in no time was rebranded and moved to Bali) because of high-profile international Facebook posts about sharks show how much the WSL and Surfing WA really care about our town.
Last weekend, Margaret River hosted the Gourmet Escape.
It was showcased nationally, brought tens of thousands of paying customers to our town, and everywhere and everything was busy.
This event actually charges the organisers and participants and is on private property. Compare this with a surfing contest for 30-odd entrants during which our community is restricted from using the town’s main recreational beaches for what is nearly 10 per cent of the year (including school and public holidays) and we give it to them to use for free, and still they want more.
Once the Pro was the only event in our town.
Now there are dozens of great events, all of which bring much more activity and cash to town than the surfing contest.
I hope our Shire councillors can consider the WSL is not going to look this gift horse in the mouth and take the contest away.
Most event sites in the world charge for use of beaches on a daily rate, which I imagine helps cut down set-up and pull-down times.
Keep the Pro, if that’s what people want, but keep it fair for the local community as well
Take five minutes and fill out the submission form on the Shire website, or email spdplanning.wa. gov.au before November 29. Campbell Chalmers, Margaret River