New di­rec­tion for high­way work

Cockburn Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Bryce Luff

SOME 40ha of land be­tween Stock Road and Karel Av­enue was cleared in prepa­ra­tion for work on Roe 8. Now the project is scrapped, there is a push to reveg­e­tate and turn the road re­serve into a tourist at­trac­tion.

CAM­PAIGN­ERS who fought for years to have Roe 8 scrapped said the cleared road re­serve could po­ten­tially be­come an in­ter­na­tional tourist at­trac­tion.

The freshly minted La­bor Gov­ern­ment put an im­me­di­ate stop to work on the $450m road – pro­posed to ex­tend Roe High­way to Stock Road – af­ter be­ing elected last Satur­day.

By then the pre­vi­ous Lib­eral Gov­ern­ment had al­ready com­pleted its early works clear­ing pro­gram, with 40ha of na­tive veg­e­ta­tion be­tween Stock Road and Karel Av­enue re­moved.

About 98ha of veg­e­ta­tion would have been re­moved had the road been fin­ished.

Com­mu­nity Wildlife Cor­ri­dor (CWC) mem­ber Nandi Chinna said there had been no break to cel­e­brate the halt on work be­cause phones were run­ning hot with thou­sands of en­gaged peo­ple ask­ing: “What can we do? We want to do some­thing. We want to do it now”.

Ms Chinna said CWC, which formed two years ago, was keen re­ha­bil­i­tate the site and to help de­velop a “green-way” fea­tur­ing cubby build­ing ar­eas for kids, walk­ing paths, cy­cle paths, ac­cess paths and Abo­rig­i­nal her­itage sites link­ing Bi­bra Lake to South Beach.

“Tourists want an ex­pe­ri­ence with na­ture,” she said. “Imag­ine if they don’t have to go to the Kim­berly or Al­bany. They’d have it here in Perth; imag­ine if that was here in Cock­burn.”

Ms Chinna said lo­cal banksia wood­lands were an at­trac­tion be­cause the di­ver­sity of species within them was dif­fi­cult to repli­cate

“As a tourist at­trac­tion, peo­ple could get the bus or train to Mur­doch, come down here and ex­pe­ri­ence birds, wet­lands and beau­ti­ful flora,” she said.

“That’s some­thing that Perth can ad­ver­tise. You can go on the Swan River, go to Cottes­loe and you can go along the Com­mu­nity Wildlife Cor­ri­dor and see the most amaz­ing plants you will see any­where else in the world.”

While there are hun­dreds of sup­port­ers keen to get to work, CWC mem­ber Suzanne Smith said pa­tience was needed to en­sure re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion work was well planned.

Cock­burn Mayor Lo­gan Howlett said the area re­mained a Main Roads WA road re­serve “and re­quires var­i­ous ap­provals to gain ac­cess to the site”.

“I have no doubt from in­for­mal dis­cus­sions with var­i­ous par­ties that there is an ea­ger­ness to start a re­plant­ing pro­gram,” he said.

“The es­tab­lish­ment of a work­ing group would pro­vide a start­ing point in order to pro­duce an over­all man­age­ment plan for site’s re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion.”

The State Gov­ern­ment was sought for com­ment on its plans for the Roe 8 road re­serve.

Pic­ture: Will Rus­sell d466733

Kim Dravnieks, Suzanne Smith, Felic­ity Bairstow, Anita Straude, Nandi Chinna and Kate Kelly.

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