Pres­i­dent slams ‘ar­ro­gant’ Gov­ern­ment over meet­ing re­fusal

South Western Times - - Front Page - Nicole Salmeri

Capel shire pres­i­dent Michael South­well has slammed the State Gov­ern­ment as “ar­ro­gant” for re­fus­ing to visit the south­ern site of the Bun­bury Outer Ring Road.

Gelorup res­i­dents are los­ing their homes due to the planned route and be­lieve their con­cerns of en­vi­ron­men­tal and so­cial dam­age voiced to the State Gov­ern­ment are fall­ing on deaf ears. Cr South­well has taken un­usual ac­tion in to­day’s South Western Times, tak­ing out a full page ad­ver­tise­ment in a bid to get the State Gov­ern­ment to visit Gelorup.

Gelorup res­i­dent of 16 years Robyn Walsh said she was “dev­as­tated” af­ter be­ing told she would lose her home.

“They (Main Roads) vis­ited us in July again and said we have two op­tions, we could stay and put up with the noise be­cause they were not go­ing to be build­ing any noise mit­i­ga­tion, or they would buy the whole prop­erty, so we ba­si­cally had no al­ter­na­tive,” Mrs Walsh said.

Cr South­well, pic­tured above with Gelorup res­i­dents, said he had be­come frus­trated be­cause he had asked the Gov­ern­ment po­litely for a meet­ing but had been re­fused.

“I’d like to ex­plain on be­half of the shire to the State Gov­ern­ment the po­si­tion of the res­i­dents in Gelorup and the wider com­mu­nity in Capel...,” Cr South­well said.

“I think the State Gov­ern­ment seems to have things out of con­text and per­haps they’re only tak­ing ad­vice from Main Roads and all Main Roads do is build roads, there

is a lit­tle bit of bias there I think.

“Re­cently there has been some dis­cus­sion whether the Min­is­ter (Trans­port Min­is­ter Rita Saf­fi­oti) when she is in the Bun­bury area could at least pop in and lis­ten to the res­i­dents there, I think she doesn't seem to be lis­ten­ing so I’m go­ing to speak out in a lit­tle bit of a louder voice and I see if she lis­tens.

Mrs Walsh said the same of­fer had been made to six other home own­ers in her street.

“We got valuers in to value our prop­erty and then we ne­go­ti­ated a price and it is just wait­ing up at the Min­ster’s of­fice for ap­proval – four out of the six have al­ready sold their prop­er­ties.”

Ms Saf­fi­oti said the pre­ferred align­ment had been planned since the 1980s and the road re­serve set aside as a de­vel­op­ment con­di­tion as­so­ci­ated with the cre­ation of the ad­ja­cent res­i­den­tial lots.

“Cr South­well re­quested a meet­ing late last year which could not be ac­com­mo­dated due to heavy di­ary com­mit­ments and a fu­ture meet­ing with Capel shire will be con­sid­ered,” she said.

“The Bun­bury Outer Ring Road is the big­gest in­vest­ment in the South West in more than a decade and it has the sup­port of the wider com­mu­nity, the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment and sur­round­ing lo­cal gov­ern­ments – in­clud­ing the Shire of Capel coun­cil un­til very re­cently.”

Ms Saf­fi­oti said the State Gov­ern­ment was com­mit­ted to de­liv­er­ing the pro­ject along the cur­rent, pre­ferred align­ment and would al­low the en­vi­ron­men­tal process to run its course.

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