Man­jimup ideal for cen­tre

Manjimup-Bridgetown Times - - Front Page - Tari Jef­fers

It is a “no-brainer” to es­tab­lish the Ru­ral Fire Di­vi­sion’s Cen­tre of Ex­cel­lence in Man­jimup, ac­cord­ing to the shire pres­i­dent.

The $18 mil­lion cen­tre would en­hance vol­un­teer train­ing and de­velop new ini­tia­tives in fight­ing bush­fires by “lever­ag­ing lo­cal knowl­edge and bush­fire sci­ence and re­search”, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment by State Emer­gency Ser­vices Min­is­ter Fran­cis Lo­gan ear­lier this year about the Ru­ral Fire Di­vi­sion.

Man­jimup shire pres­i­dent Paul Omodei said the Man­jimup Shire Coun­cil sub­mit­ted an ex­pres­sion of in­ter­est about three months ago when it was an­nounced the State Govern­ment would be ac­cept­ing bids for the lo­ca­tion of the cen­tre.

“Our of­fi­cial sub­mis­sion is im­mi­nent — in about two weeks — and we’re just fi­nal­is­ing a lo­ca­tion,” he said.

“It’s a no-brainer to have the cen­tre here in Man­jimup.”

Cr Omodei said rea­sons why Man­jimup should be the lo­ca­tion of the Cen­tre of Ex­cel­lence in­cluded the fact the shire was 86 per cent forests, whether it was State, Na­tional or re­serve.

“If you went in a 50km ra­dius of this area, we have all dif­fer­ent for­est types,” he said.

“We have a re­gional Depart­ment of Bio­di­ver­sity, Con­ser­va­tion and At­trac­tions of­fice and For­est Prod­ucts Com­mis­sion, as well as land ad­ja­cent to those or­gan­i­sa­tions.

“We also have high-qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion, hous­ing and recre­ational fa­cil­i­ties. There’s also a Depart­ment of Fire and Emer­gency Ser­vices of­fice and an air­port that has he­li­pads — this is the log­i­cal place.”

Cr Omodei said he hoped the State Govern­ment also con­sid­ered the fact the re­cent demise of two of

The man­ager of Man­jimup Back­pack­ers be­lieves the rise of il­le­gal camp­ing and share houses in the area may mean the end for his busi­ness.

Ab­dul Haidari said he was strug­gling to get any­one to stay at his ac­com­mo­da­tion de­spite the Man­jimup Shire Coun­cil pre­dict­ing the ar­rival of 500 sea­sonal work­ers in the district this year.

“I’ve only had five to seven peo­ple here at a time at most for about five months now,” he said.

“This is sig­nif­i­cantly less than last year when I had about 25 peo­ple at a time, which is the min­i­mum I need to just get by.”

Man­jimup shire pres­i­dent Paul Omodei said the coun­cil would be polic­ing il­le­gal camp­ing after the sea­son picked up.

“We will be us­ing our ranger sys­tem to po­lice it all and will put on ex­tra rangers at peak sea­son if we find a lot of peo­ple are do­ing it,” he said.

How­ever, Cr Omodei said he did not think they would have a need for the ex­tra rangers. Mr Haidari said he be­lieved the area was the worst when it came to sea­sonal work­ers stay­ing in il­le­gal ac­com­mo­da­tion.

“I think Man­jimup is ab­so­lutely the worst place for this kind of thing, be­cause Bun­bury, Mar­garet River, places like that don’t have the same kind of prob­lems,” he said.

“They camp in the ho­tel carpark some­times and if some­one ac­ci­den­tally leaves the doors open they come straight through to use my toi­let and take show­ers and ev­ery­thing and then they just leave.”

Mr Haidari also said any new ac­com­mo­da­tion in the area was un­nec­es­sary and help­ing pre-ex­ist­ing busi­nesses by stop­ping il­le­gal lodg­ings was the best way to im­prove the com­mu­nity. “This is for ev­ery­body,” he said. “Help me, help the farm­ers, help the back­pack­ers, it’s not just one per­son who ben­e­fits.”

Mr Haidari said he would be meet­ing with the Cr Omodei to dis­cuss the mat­ter fur­ther.

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