THE BORR WAR
President slams ‘arrogant’ Government over meeting refusal
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.