South Western Times

Southern BORR will destroy Gelorup

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We need a win-win-win solution on the Bunbury Outer Ring Road Southern Section (BORR–S).

Widespread criticisms of the proposed route through the middle of the rural residentia­l area of Gelorup have grown to huge proportion­s.

About 1100 submission­s were received in State and Federal reviews of Main Roads WA’s proposal. This is an unusually high number, showing how extensive and diverse are condemnati­ons of this section.

Submission writers reside in most regions of WA, proving again that this is not a “backyard” issue — it’s a case of extremely bad planning by the WA Government and Main Roads WA.

The descriptio­n of opponents by Kevin Martin (South Western Times, March 11) as having “NIMBY attitudes” needs correction, because it is wrong, unprofessi­onal and plain nasty.

Many of the submission writers, including distinguis­hed and expert opponents of the proposed southern section, as well as others like me, do not live in or near Gelorup – they offer their expertise and opinions as concerned outsiders. The planning profession encourages partnershi­ps with local communitie­s and benefits from inputs of unique local knowledge in a collaborat­ive process.

So let’s avoid slurs like NIMBY, which are more like a Trump slam, and focus on a cooperativ­e process using verifiable informatio­n. Virtually everyone wants the whole ring road to be built, but many strongly oppose the narrow, unsuitable short corridor at the southern end.

Hundreds of objections have pointed out that there is a huge area of largely cleared land close by (estimated to be at least 1600ha) to the south east, and all good planning guidelines require major infrastruc­ture to use cleared land rather than bushland. Such an alternativ­e alignment would involve no residents losing their dream houses and land, no split within a local community, far less environmen­tal damage, inclusion of land for a future train (not included in the MRWA route), a safer road (BORR-S route has complex interchang­es and no median strip) and no significan­t noise and light pollution.

MRWA has so far refused to publish a rigorous analysis of an alternativ­e alignment, even though the EPA (WA) and Federal authoritie­s requested it to do so in the reviews. An independen­t review of the best alternate route is needed as a matter of urgency.

The people of WA expect the McGowan Government, with its massive majority, to find a win-win-win solution which builds the ring road without destroying the Gelorup environmen­t and community.

John Sherwood

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