A walk through what will be lost
A RARE stand of native woody pears, orchids and WA’s floral emblem, the kangaroo paw, grow along the 5km Roe 8 section of the proposed 13km Perth Freight Link (PFL) walked by the Western Suburbs Weekly east of Fremantle recently.
“The western and northern suburbs have Kings and Bold parks, but in the southern suburbs the Beeliar wetlands Roe 8 crosses are the only remaining large bush left,” Rethink the Link co-convenor Kate Kelly said.
She has spent six years fighting Roe 8, including taking guided walks on the route and she has told Cottesloe MLA Colin Barnett the battle would go to court.
Mr Barnett, who has seen the Roe 8 bush, said the Roe 8 was “ready to go” and he expected contracts to be signed by Christmas and construction to start early next year.
The PFL would join Fremantle Port to the $1 billion Gateway WA and $1.1 billion NorthLink WA road projects, starting with Route 8 west from Roe Highway, between Beeliar and North lakes, to Forrest Road at Coolbellup. It turns north on Stock Road to East Fremantle, or continues west to Hamilton Hill to become a north-bound tunnel, before both alternative routes finish about 1km south of Stirling Bridge.
“Walking the proposed Roe 8 Route you see most of it is bush, it’s not degraded, but it is urban bush, and I’d like to keep it that way,” said Ms Kelly, whose favourite woody pears are not found in Kings or Bold parks.
“If you go into that Roe 8 section where the woody pear is, and there are only 1-2 other stands of the pears known in the metro area, what you realise is what mint condition it’s in,” University of WA plant biologist Hans Lambers said.
Professor Lambers said he also saw a rare level of “almost no weeds” in the bush reserved for the PFL west of the two lakes, where plants include donkey orchids and native wisteria, zamia palms and banksias, and bandicoots live between tuart trees.
After a 2009 environmental report, Roe 8 was given conditional environmental approval on July 2, with a bridge over wetlands between the lakes to minimally disturb acid soil, and the destruction of 100ha of wetlands to be “offset” by buying 400ha at an undisclosed location.
Roe 8 walks start at the corner Stock and Forrest roads, Coolbellup at 2pm on Saturdays.
Top: Trees and flowers surround Roe 8 walkers in spring. Above: Beautiful flowers can be found among the weeds.