A walk through what will be lost

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News - By JON BAS­SETT

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.

Pic­tures: Jon Bas­sett

Top: Trees and flow­ers sur­round Roe 8 walk­ers in spring. Above: Beau­ti­ful flow­ers can be found among the weeds.

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