Bunbury MLA Don Punch takes aim at council’s interchange opposition

Stuart McGuckinSouth Western Times

The Bunbury City Council’s continued opposition to the preferred Bunbury Outer Ring Road northern interchange has been labelled “bizarre” and emotionally based, by Bunbury MLA Don Punch.

Mr Punch said the council had portrayed itself in a poor light and not as a forward thinking organisation with a regard for South West residents as well as its own.

“I’d be the first to applaud council if it was making its view known and it disagreed based on sound engineering and planning principles,” he said.

“It highlights to me that the current Bunbury Council is not ready to embrace the concept of being a 21st century second city for WA.

“Fortunately the feedback I’m getting is the broader community is ready to embrace the concept and that the community is not as stupid as the councillors think.”

During last week’s meeting councillors indicated their support for the ring road, but showed concerns about the northern interchange as Forrest Highway would no longer be the predominant road into Bunbury.

Mr Punch said a video presentation delivered at the meeting was misleading.

“It seems really bizarre to me council would take a view which potentially compromises safety and efficiency considerations in an area we know is growing in terms of traffic movement,” he said.

The council has since been delivered a different video presentation from the office of Transport Minister Rita Saffioti which was welcomed by Bunbury Mayor Gary Brennan.

“The Outer Ring Road will deliver many benefits for the community and these significant improvements are very much appreciated,” he said.

“However, the City of Bunbury remains concerned that the current design does not include the Forrest Highway to Bunbury as the primary route.

“The northern interchange still requires drivers to travel through a convoluted series of loops before returning to Forrest Highway and northbound traffic is still required to give way at a roundabout.”

The community has until Thursday to have their say on the northern and central sections of the project during the EPA’s seven-day public comment period.

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