By Chris Thomson | posted on June 21, 2018
A SIX-MONTH trial of Broome-like camel rides will take place from November 1 at Peaceful Bay, despite local opposition, and after the operator abandoned plans for rides at Parry Beach.
On Tuesday night, Peaceful Bay ratepayers Bob Eddington and Matt Mauger made the 50km trip along South Coast Highway to tell Denmark shire councillors they did not support the camel rides.
“The community of Peaceful Bay is very concerned about this proposal,” Mr Eddington, a permanent Peaceful Bay resident, said.
“The general consensus of the small population living at Peaceful Bay at the moment is: ‘No, we do not want camels at Peaceful Bay’.
“The beach is not Cable Beach, it’s Peaceful Bay and it’s very narrow.”
Mr Mauger, a regular visitor to Peaceful Bay, complained that the Shire had not written to ratepayers at the idyllic holiday spot advising them of the planned camel rides.
He said the tight-knit community only heard about the plans via an unofficial email.
Shire President Ceinwen Gearon told Mr Mauger that, at a recent meeting at the bay, Shire CEO Bill Parker had been quizzed about his administration’s approach to consultation and “agreed to look at it”.
Mr Mauger said Mr Parker’s commitment was “a bit late” for the camel debate.
“It’s like shutting the gate after the camel’s bolted,” he observed.
Denmark tourism operator Beverley Ford said she thought the camels were “a great idea” for Parry Beach, but not for Peaceful Bay where the beach was narrower.
But, in its response to public submissions, the Great Southern Camel Company said there was “an issue at Parry Beach in terms of positioning the camel station and the narrow aspect of the first 50m of beach”.
Accordingly, the company withdrew its request for rides at Parry Beach.
The company says camels are “placid, docile animals” that have “successfully integrated with cars, dogs, children and adults on many beaches around Australia without incident”.
Each camel ride will be between 15 and 30 minutes long, and the company’s three to four quadrupeds will roam the beach for a maximum four hours a day on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
The camels will be housed at a lot on South Coast Highway at Nornalup.
Of 17 public submissions received, 10 objected to the camels, five supported them, and two had a bet each way.
The Nornalup Residents and Ratepayers Association welcomed the rides as “an attraction benefiting tourists and local businesses on the south coast”.
The Peaceful Bay Progress Association objected to the rides, opining that camels would conflict with vehicles, dogs, fishers and swimmers at the beach.
“The beach is very narrow, especially at high tide, and cannot accommodate these family activities as well as camel rides,” the Association submitted.
Photo: Bob Eddington and Matt Mauger opposed the camel rides.