Media releases

Margaret River HEART will be illuminated in yellow for the remainder of April as a beacon of hope, positivity and connection during this stage of the COVID-19 crisis. 
The City of Bunbury initiated the campaign by lighting up the Koombana Footbridge and the Mangrove Cove Tower, with other South West Local Governments getting on board by lighting various landmarks in their areas. 
Shire of Augusta Margaret River President Ian Earl said the campaign was intended to serve as physical reminder to practice self care and be kind, tolerant, generous and supportive towards others. 
“Times of stress and hardship can tend to either divide or unite communities,” he said. 
“We are asking people to choose togetherness and act with concern and empathy towards others. 
“We are all experiencing a great deal of change and many of us feel anxious, fearful and uncertain for our own wellbeing and that of our loved ones.  
“Please practice patience, be kind to yourself at this time, and reach out to those around you. 
“There are social distancing measures in place but connect in the ways that you can. 
“Get on the phone, send an email, text those close to you and check on the community members around you. 
“With care and diligence we can all come out the other side of this with increase postivity, new perspective and a deeper sense of gratitude for our lives here.”
The Margaret River HEART building will be lit up between 5pm and 9pm daily. 
A range of activation and engagement posts celebrating hope and positivity will be posted on the Margaret River HEART facebook page for the duration of the crisis. 

The first initiative to be funded under the Shire of Augusta Margaret River’s two million dollar Community Care Package was announced yesterday Thursday 2 April 2020.

Margaret River Community Centre and their supporting agency Just Home will receive a total of $113,000 to support increased service delivery over the next three months.

This includes increasing soup kitchen servicing, providing for more staff hours to enable increased operating hours and resourcing, and an additional contribution to their existing Emergency Relief Fund to support accommodation relief and access to telehealth mental health services, and support.

Shire President Ian Earl said he was pleased community groups and support services were seeking to access the Community Care Package.

“The COVID-19 situation escalated quite quickly and many community members felt the impact very early on,” he said.

“The Shire is very fortunate to have a range of established support services in the community who have been able to respond rapidly to a very difficult situation.

“The funding going to the Community Resource Centre’s direct relief is money well spent.

“The whole community benefits from the support provided to the most vulnerable.”

The Shire is assisting further Community Care Package applicants with funding allocations anticipated to made early next week. 

Anyone wishing to find out more about the Community Care Package can go online or email recovery@amrshire.wa.gov.au

 

 

 

Key representatives of local surfing organisations, coastal businesses and swimming networks met with Shire President Ian Earl last night.  They discussed concerns with last weekend’s beach crowding issue and agreed on community measures that could be adopted to enable beaches to safely remain open for use in the current COVID19 environment.

Several problems were highlighted that contributed to crowds, including an unusually high and very recent influx of travelling backpackers.   Cr Earl commented that “Rangers have been working with Police to tell the free campers to move on.  Advice has been that they need to look to go home while they still can.  We have also been sending them to places where they can camp properly and we’ll continue to work on that.” 

An influx of Perth visitors was also cited for particularly large weekend crowds, however it was felt that the regional border closures would minimise this issue in the future. 

At a local level, the representatives were incredibly keen to do what they could to strongly encourage their members and networks to strictly abide by Shire guidelines.  The very real risk of beach closures was enough to incite some solid consensus and commitment. 

Dave Macaulay, current Masters Surfing World Champion and father of WSL competitor Bronte, commented that “the thought of not being able to go surfing was scary.” 

Charlie O’Beirne, head of Swimming Women who has around 500 members, said “there’s lot of swimmers who are older, but that access to movement in the ocean is absolutely critical to their mental and physical health.”  

The groups agreed to strongly communicate and follow the Shire guidelines, including:
•    Don’t congregate in the carpark or on the beach.
•    Avoid crowded breaks and car parks. 
•    Spread out in the line up
•    Make it snappy. Surf/Swim then leave.
•    Obey social distancing rules.

Noting that Sydney had only shut Manly and Bondi beaches, Margaret River Boardriders President Jerome Forrest commented “That’s where us locals have to lead the way and show people what to do. We just need to get in and get out of there, there’s no hanging around the beaches.” 

The groups are firmly communicating these guidelines to their networks, and the Shire is posting signs to remind beach goers of these guidelines today.  

Jane Seman, President of Cowaramup Bay Boardriders, commented that “Beach closures would be absolutely devasting for the local community. So many people rely on it for their physical health and mental wellbeing, so it’s even more important in times when our health needs to be at its peak.” 

“Whether we’re visitors or local residents, let’s all do the right thing and help to keep our beaches open.”

ENDS

For more information phone Jane Seman
0408 909 643 / jane@thinktribe.com.au


3rd April 2020

Plans to fast track Margaret River’s Main Street Makeover are underway in an effort to minimise future disruption to Main Street traders and support continued economic activity.

Shire of Augusta Margaret River Chief Executive Officer, Stephanie Addison-Brown today announced Stage 2 works currently planned for September would commence on completion of Stage 1 in May/June this year.

“Looking ahead the Shire is working hard with contractors, BCP to finalise plans,” she said.

“We have made this decision to take advantage of the unplanned shutdown of the town as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Federal and State government restrictions in place to manage the spread.

“Once we come out the other side of this pandemic, we want to support business owners and traders on the Main Street, and minimise further disruption time caused by the works.

“Continuing the works in a safe way, and in line with social distancing requirements will also support ongoing employment for the many local subcontractors working on the job, which in turn supports their families and the local economy, “she said.

Ms Addison Brown said the Shire was working with both the State and Federal governments to seek to secure the necessary funding to deliver Stage 3 of the project.

“Stage 3 of the works, from Willmott Avenue up to the Wallcliffe Road intersection is currently unfunded.

“We are seeking funding to ensure completion of these capital works, immediately after the completion of Stage 2 if at all possible.

“If successful this will enable the whole project to be completed this year and support Margaret River and the wider region get back on its feet post pandemic.

Visit www.mainstreetmakeover.com.au for more information on the project and stages.

Playgrounds, skate parks and public barbeque areas in the Shire of Augusta Margaret River are now closed to the public in line with the latest Federal Government direction regarding the management of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Members of the public are further advised to only leave their homes to exercise, receive medical care, shop for essentials, or travel to work or education.

Shire Chief Executive Officer Stephanie Addison-Brown reminded people to avoid gatherings in public with the national advice being a maximum of two people.

“Please listen to the advice and follow the directions of leaders and medical experts,” she said.

“We need to all play our part in stopping the spread of this virus as quickly as possible.

“I particularly urge beachgoers not to congregate at beaches and in coastal carparks.

“There have been some concerning videos and photos emerging on social media showing people crowding at surf spots over the weekend.

“Please stop.

“People of all ages and fitness levels are getting badly affected by this health pandemic.

“You are not immune and you may end up posing as a danger to the more vulnerable people around you.”

The Shire will be posting closure notices at key localities as soon as possible.

WA Police will be enforcing the State Government adopted measures in line with the latest advice issued via www.healthywa.wa.gov.au

The latest Federal Government advice on the COVID-19 response is available at www.australia.gov.au/

 

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Margaret River WA 6285

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