Abrolhos advocate Victor Tanti ready to renew push for tourism accommodation if re-elected to council
As one of Geraldton’s fiercest advocates for tourism development on the Abrolhos Islands, Victor Tanti says he has unfinished business on seeing the natural asset reach its full potential.
The City of Greater Geraldton councillor, who is pushing for re-election on October 16, said there was little enthusiasm to explore tourism options on the islands when he was first voted into local government eight years ago.
“The progress has been glacial,” he said. “It didn’t get a lot of traction initially, but a lot of people have changed their mind since I came on to council.”
Cr Tanti said he was eager to still be on the council when the State Government releases its Abrolhos draft management plan, which aims to preserve the island archipelago while also promoting a sustainable tourism model.
“I’m hoping that will be a favourable outcome – which means tourist accommodation actually on the islands or on pontoons near the islands,” he said.
“I’m not suggesting anything like Rottnest Island, but you should be able to stay on the islands in ecologically-friendly accommodation.”
According to Cr Tanti, there is plenty of “unofficial” tourism already.
“It’s not monitored,” he said.
“There were hundreds of people there for the long weekend in June.
“Do they fish illegally? That does happen. Do they camp illegally? That I know happens.
“Why is that OK, but the idea of controlled tourism isn’t?”
As well as being the unofficial record keeper for the Great Northern Football League and Geraldton Cricket League, Cr Tanti has spent the past year working as a prison officer, a role he says is “mostly a fun job”.
“Most people don’t want any drama, they just want to get their prison time over and done with,” he said.
“You get the odd difficult one.”
Looking back on his past four years on council, Cr Tanti said he was proud to have helped a group of Bluff Point residents whose property was being stolen by troublemakers accessing a thoroughfare between Mitchell Street and St Georges Close.
Thrilled with Cr Tanti’s efforts, the group of residents fixed a sign to a nearby park pergola, naming it “The Victor Tanti Stand”.
A Point Moore resident, Cr Tanti said he had found it challenging to vote on a controversial beach 4WD ban, which was ultimately defeated.
“I’ve probably lost a few votes because I voted against closing the beach to vehicles,” Cr Tanti said.
“Initially I was going to support that, but when I thought about it, I’d been down there in summer and people are just having a good time.
“The day will come when Geraldton is too big to allow vehicles on the beach, but at the moment it is not.”
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