The West Australian

Roe 8 is an expensive redundancy


Colin Barnett’s claim that the Roe Highway extension should be built because it “has been a part of Perth’s long-term planning for 50 years” ( News, 21/12) is disingenuo­us.

The 1955 Stephenson-Hepburn Plan for Perth and Fremantle was a product of the values and convention­s of its time.

It valorised freeways, and its social and environmen­tal impacts were not subject to expert review or public input. Its architects didn’t know that in the long run, more roads create more traffic congestion.

Furthermor­e, Perth’s road network has evolved beyond both the 1955 Plan and the 1963 Metropolit­an Region Scheme (MRS) based on it.

In the 1963 MRS the northern section of what is now the Kwinana Freeway ended at Roe Highway, and Stock Road was to be the main highway connecting the city with Kwinana. This made Roe 8 an essential link between the two.

With the 1970 Corridor Plan proposal to extend the Kwinana Freeway south past the intersecti­on with Roe Highway, Roe 8 became less critical.

The emergence of Leach Highway as a functional freight route to Fremantle, and the de-industrial­isation of North Coogee (the Roe Highway’s original planned end point) further eroded its utility.

After an extensive and open consultati­on process with community and industry, which included analysis of the social, environmen­tal and economic impact of several proposed freight routes, the Metropolit­an Freight Network Review (2002) recommende­d that Roe 8 not be constructe­d.

As such, Roe 8 belongs with other redundant parts of the 1963 plan, such as the Stephenson Highway that would have run across Herdsman Lake, Wembley golf course, Floreat, Bold Park and Mt Claremont. So let’s stop thinking about this road as an historical inevitabil­ity and recognise it for the expensive white elephant it is. Associate Professor Andrea Gaynor, UWA department of history

Desecratio­n of bushland

Roe 8 is the most important, but not the only recent, example of the Government or its agencies not applying its policies concerning the protection of precious environmen­tal assets and approving their destructio­n or degradatio­n despite viable alternativ­es.

On December 19, Planning Minister Donna Faragher approved redevelopm­ent plans for the 15.8ha Royal Perth Rehabilita­tion Hospital site in Shenton Park.

Unfortunat­ely, this will result in the desecratio­n of one of the few remaining western suburbs remnants of local bushland, which functions as part of a regionally important ecological linkage between Bold and Kings parks.

The Government’s State Planning Policies 2.8, concerning Perth’s bushland, and 3.7 about planning in bushfire prone areas and the Capital City Planning Framework, all recommend that this bushland be retained due to its linkage function and its environmen­tal significan­ce.

Which assets do you think future generation­s would most want bequeathed to them? A toll road to nowhere and two apartment blocks, or a major wetland and a remnant of irreplacea­ble banksia woodland? Lyn Jennings, Floreat

An inclusive greeting

Maybe, just maybe, the greeting Happy Holidays is not all about political correctnes­s.

The inclusiven­ess of Happy Holidays not only picks up the celebratio­n of Christmas and the New Year, but also recognises non-Christians who enjoy giving and receiving the goodwill inherent in a non-denominati­onal greeting.

Happy Holidays everyone. Phil Samuell, Dianella

Obama and Israel

So Barack Obama thinks he would have won again if allowed to run. Sorry, no way.

After he deserted Israel in the UN, fair minded Americans would have turned against him. Patrick F. Whalen, Yokine

EU must change course

The sobering reality of the Paris, Nice and Berlin terrorist attacks can no longer be swept under the carpet by the wishful thinking and platitudes of EU leaders. The peacetime merits of the Schengen Agreement must be reconsider­ed by a Europe that finds itself in a war with Islamist terrorism.

Europe’s open borders may have helped commerce, but they have provided a seamless, conveyor for the contagion of Islamist terrorism.

Islamist terrorism cannot be controlled and defeated if it cannot first be contained.

Therefore, before charting a course to a secure future, the good ship Europe must accept the increased rigidity of having to reinstate its national bulkheads. Mark Dyer, Rockingham

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Barack Obama

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