A ski, wakeboard and aqua park has been proposed near a popular South West holiday town, but the plan has been met with howls of protest from some residents.
Angry residents claim the proposed site — less than a 10-minute drive south of Dunsborough — would suck precious water from the local aquifer, destroy a creek, be an eyesore, create noise and ruin farmland.
But developer and landowner Cameron Akers hit back, saying a team of experts had spent months assessing environmental impacts, which he said would be minimal.
Called Wildwood Wake, the proposal features a purpose-built 340m-long cable-ski lake, a 750m-long boat skiing lake, and an aqua park with a water playground on a rural 30ha property on sleepy Wildwood Road near Carbunup.
The watersports facility would include a play area for toddlers, on-site chalet-style accommodation, and a clubhouse with a function centre, restaurant, shop and kiosk.
Three hundred cable skiers a day could hit the water for skiing and wakeboarding, and boat owners would be able to hire water time on the second man-made lake.
It has been backed by the Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association, which said a ski park would boost the region’s growing reputation as an adventure hub. But neighbouring landowners, including Janie and Brendan Jones and retiree Keith Williams, said they were shocked at the proposal, claiming they were only told about it at the 11th hour.
“A wet and wild fun park on the most beautiful, picturesque road that tourists love driving down will be an appalling scar on this region,” Mrs Jones said.
“There’s been no consultation.
“The retirees who moved here for lifestyle are worried it will be ruined. And water, which is like gold down here, is going to be squandered.”
She questioned whether the development would be better sited on Geographe Bay, near the upgraded Busselton Airport or adjacent to the existing Xscape at the Cape Fun Park, saying “we’re not against development, but it’s totally in the wrong place”.
But Mr Akers said: “We have always been passionate about watersports and if approved, we’re hoping that this will be a facility for the whole community, offering both locals and tourists a family-friendly experience that promotes an outdoor, healthy lifestyle.
“We are aware that some neighbours may have concerns with respect to water and noise.
“We take those concerns seriously and as such, have commissioned extensive independent reports to address them.
“We’re not a big developer from a foreign country.
“We are simply a young family … proposing to build a facility that provides a safe, family-friendly experience.”
The closing date for public submissions with the City of Busselton has now been extended to February 15.