Clearing fears for Caves Rd ‘clarified’
Main Roads WA says proposed investigation of heritage listing can take place within its planned consultation process.
And the department has moved to quell fears about the extent of planned clearing in the as-yet unfunded project for Caves Road, subject to a Shire of Augusta-Margaret River council resolution.
Last week, Cr Pauline McLeod won unanimous support to seek collaboration with the City of Busselton to assess heritage listing for the tourism drive, with the motion also asking MRWA to put the brakes on its community reference group.
MRWA briefed local members last week saying “claims of clearing areas of vegetation from 5-15m were without foundation”.
The 15m clearance was flagged in previous briefings, including Times inquiries, which were not previously refuted.
MRWA spokesman Dean Roberts said the agency wanted to retain the “existing aesthetics of Caves Road in recognition of its importance as a tourist route”.
Two reference groups were planned to address the northern and southern sections of the pro- ject from Yallingup to Rainbow Caves Road in Margaret River.
The reference group process would not be halted.
MRWA wanted community input on the plan, which occurs against a backdrop of strong local opposition to any road widening, and calls to fund a long-awaited roundabout at Yallingup and reduce speed limits instead.
“The key purpose of any work would be to provide a sealed shoulder to improve road user safety,” Mr Roberts said.
“The broad objective was always to keep any clearing impacts to an absolute minimum. Additionally, no work will be undertaken until the community reference groups have been consulted.”
MRWA would also consider existing speed limits as part of consultation, with a new assess- ment “for the entire length of Caves Road” due in coming months.
“Main Roads believes the CRG process can still be conducted parallel with the determination of a heritage-listing request,” Mr Roberts said.
Busselton Mayor Grant Henley said the City had no formal position yet on the heritage-listing proposal.
“I am confident in stating that council will always seek to preserve the character of Caves Road while still enabling significant issues impacting driver safety to be addressed appropriately,” he said.
“Officers are scheduled to present to council on the matter soon.”
A recent Times Facebook poll showed 63 per cent of more than 150 respondents wanted speedlimit reductions.
Caves Road tourist drive could be heritage listed.