Plan to turn ‘hidden’ coast into drawcard

News article

Credit: Ailish Delaney / South Western Times

The Shire of Capel would like to thank the South Western Times for supplying this article for public viewing.

Ailish Delaney South Western Times

Thu, 27 May 2021 8:05AM

Capel Shire president Michael Southwell has plans to turn the shire’s ‘hidden’ coastline into a tourism asset.

Driving down Bussell Highway, it can be easy to mentally turn on autopilot and eagerly await your arrival at the heaving tourist town of Busselton or the crisp coastline of Margaret River and beyond.

But what most visitors to the Bunbury Geographe region don’t often realise is there is a hidden gem of a coastline in between.

From Dalyellup down to Peppermint Grove Beach, the Shire of Capel boasts a beautiful beachside location without the hustle and bustle of more popular tourism spots.

Shire president Michael Southwell, pictured, wants to take advantage of this and turn the 23km of coast within the shire into a drawcard for tourists passing through the region.

“People don’t often realise it’s here and there’s a gap in the middle from Dunsborough and Bunbury … we need to capitalise on it,” he said.

We want to get people to focus less on getting past Bunbury and Capel to beyond and instead consider stopping along the way on the coast.

“We have some amazing hidden assets here and we need to improve the facilities so more people can take advantage of them,” Cr Southwell said.

“You can drive on the beaches here, which most people don’t know about.

“It’s an amazing privilege that we can share.”

Cr Southwell said the council had big plans for the coast, including a potential cafe overlooking the beach and deck setting at Dalyellup Surf Club as well as upgrades to the beach access areas and picnic table facilities, new toilets and an improved carpark at Rich Road.

“The beach at Rich Road is only used by locals at the moment, so we need to improve the facilities and put it on the map,” he said.

“Facilities will firstly be taken up by locals and then we hope the word will spread and more tourists will come from that.

“It’s crazy we’ve come this far and seem to have neglected our coastal assets. They make people want to live and recreate here.”

He said the council was also committed to the Bunbury, Capel, Busselton cycle link project and hoped it would run as close to the coast as possible.

“We want to get people to focus less on getting past Bunbury and Capel to beyond and instead consider stopping along the way on the coast,” he said.

“If they came and stayed they could take advantage of it and enjoy a less congested experience.”

The plans come as part of the council’s new long-term strategic plan, which is set to outline the overall vision for the shire going forward.

Cr Southwell hoped it would come to the council by June and said it would “mark what we’re bringing to the table that wasn’t there before”.

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