HASLUCK MP Ken Wyatt has come out swinging against the proposed closure of John Forrest Tavern, despite admitting he did not have all the information on intended plans for the park.
At a local meeting last week, the Liberal federal election candidate called on the Labor State Government to reveal plans for the $8 million upgrade and guarantee the tavern’s future.
“I get a great sense there’s not a lot we can do,” he told about 40 meeting attendees.
“We’ll continue to liaise with the State government to see if there’s any consideration but I get this sense it’s a Fait accompli.
“What we don’t know is the scope of the earthworks that needs to be done and the scope of the building that will be undertaken and how this building will be used, that’s the unknown.”
He said the State Government was investing $8.4 million in WA’s premier national park to make it more tourist friendly.
“Now that may be true, but often you don’t throw the baby out with the bath water,” he said.
“You look at what’s here and how you can incorporate it into the new facilities that they are going to build here in order to attract tourists to make it a point of attraction.”
The park upgrade includes a new hub with a visitor centre and cafe, upgrades to existing picnic areas, gardens and car parking, and improved walking and new off-road cycling trails.
Since the meeting, Mr Wyatt has written to Environment Minister Reece Whitby to ask about plans for the site, for community consultation and to investigate if the tavern could remain open in the “interim”.
The lease to operate the John Forrest Tavern expires on May 31.
Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions said the continued operation of the tavern will not be possible, as the business would be disrupted by preliminary ground work, which will start over in the coming months.