Shire of Carnarvon Addresses Blowholes Shacks Concerns with Transparent Governance

Published on Wednesday, 12 June 2024 at 9:06:38 AM

In a dedicated effort to uphold transparency the Shire of Carnarvon is issuing this statement to provide clarity regarding the Blowholes Shacks situation. The Shire recognises the importance of ensuring that the community is well-informed about the facts surrounding the Blowholes Shacks and the ongoing efforts to manage associated risks.
Following complaints regarding the potential for physical harm posed by the Blowholes Shacks to individuals in the area, Building Orders were promptly issued to the Shack "owners". These actions were taken after thorough consideration of advice from Shire insurers and legal counsel, emphasising the imperative of mitigating known risks to prevent exposure of the Shire and its officers.
As the holder of the Management Order for the Blowholes Reserves, the Shire is bound by clear directives from the State Government, the landowner, regarding the inconsistency of the Shacks' location with the approved Blowholes Reserves Management Plan. Consequently, the Shire was legally constrained from issuing orders for Shack repairs, necessitating the issuance of Building Orders for demolition as the most transparent and equitable course of action. The Shack owners challenged the Building Orders in the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT), and because of this challenge, the Shire has incurred legal costs of approximately $56,000 in the last twelve months.
Despite challenges from Shack owners in the SAT, the Tribunal's decision has affirmed the safety concerns, recommending the repair or demolition of eleven Shacks by August. However, those proceedings remain ongoing and the Tribunal has not yet made any final orders, pending further submissions from the parties. Concurrently, the SAT process facilitated the repair and safety enhancement of the remaining thirteen Shacks, which largely occurred following the issue of the building orders.
Shire President, Eddie Smith, clarified, "The SAT decision solely addresses safety concerns and does not extend to the broader issue of land tenure or the status of unauthorised Shacks lacking tenure." Moving forward, Council will consider all options to try and achieve the best outcome for the entire community.