Council votes Blowholes shacks to be demolished

Edward ScownMidwest Times
News. The search for Cleo Smith. Aerial view of the Blowholes Campsite where Cleo Smith disappeared from.
Camera IconNews. The search for Cleo Smith. Aerial view of the Blowholes Campsite where Cleo Smith disappeared from. Credit: Jackson Flindell/The West Australian, Jackson Flindell The West Australian

A long-standing feud between the Shire of Carnarvon and the owners of beach shacks at the Blowholes Campground came to a head at the Shire’s final council meeting of the year.

The council voted 6-1 to issue orders to demolish shacks at the popular holiday spot after they were found to be non-compliant with building regulations, with visitors complaining of loose materials — including sheets of corrugated tin — blowing around the campsite.

The Shire first raised concerns about the shacks in 1985, resolving to remove them before June 30, 1988. The shacks remained and the council voted again in 1992 to remove the shacks and create a more open campground and recreation area. This also failed and in the past 30 years several motions have been passed and subsequently revoked on removing the shacks.

A building surveyor’s report handed to council stated there had been multiple modifications to the buildings without council approval, and that they were at a high risk of collapse and would become dangerous to occupiers and others during a storm.

Speaking to the Geraldton Guardian earlier in the month, Shire of Carnarvon chief executive Andrea Selvey said she understood the decision would disappoint those with fond memories of holidaying in the shacks.

“Shire officers are aware that our recommendation may not be seen as a popular one, particularly among those locals who have strong ties to the shacks historically,” she said.

“However, as has been the case in other unsafe beachside structures, such as Lancelin’s Ledge Point, it remains the Shire’s responsibility for the management of that land — and those who potentially are injured on that land.”

The site received worldwide attention after the disappearance of Cleo Smith from the campground in October, sparking an 18-day search which ended in the four-year-old being found alive in a Carnarvon house.

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