Pro de­nies beach ac­cess to lo­cals

Augusta Margaret River Times - - Letters -

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

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