City left ‘outer’ the loop

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times
Premier Mark McGowan and Bunbury MLA Don Punch in Bunbury.
Camera IconPremier Mark McGowan and Bunbury MLA Don Punch in Bunbury. Credit: South Western Times

It is in the State Government’s best interest to ensure Bunbury remains an attractive destination for visitors, potential residents and investors, according to Mayor Gary Brennan.

The comment came as Premier Mark McGowan last week responded to Bunbury City Council’s mounting concerns over the proposed design of the Bunbury Outer Ring Road’s northern intersection.

The design, which the council flagged as not maintaining the “primacy” of Bunbury for travellers, sparked heated comments among the council last month when it voted to write to Mr McGowan with its concerns.

That decision then prompted a fiery retort from Transport Minister Rita Saffioti who said she was “deeply disappointed” with the council and that its argument relied on the flawed logic that motorists were not smart enough to visit and exit Bunbury.

While no structural changes have been made to the design in response to the council’s concerns, Mr McGowan said he believed “great signage and great landscaping” would address any unease.

“We’re going to make sure that the entry point to Bunbury is dual-laned and has the best of signage and the best of landscaping so that Bunbury doesn’t miss out,” Mr McGowan said.

“I think that meets a lot of the concerns that have been expressed, but this is one of those projects you’ve got to get on and do.

“You can’t just talk about it forever and we’re going to make it happen.”

Responding to a South Western Times question if he was satisfied with the response from the Government, Mr Brennan said “I’m happy the Premier has reviewed the Main Roads’ preferred design and I’m happy that he has responded to the city council”.

Mr Brennan said ensuring Bunbury had adequate signage and promotion targeting motorists travelling south on Forrest Highway was always a commitment by the Government.

“The decision of the premier means that we need to move ahead,” Mr Brennan said.

“We respect the fact the Government’s made its call and we do need to work, and we will work, collaboratively with the State Government on this particular project.”

Mr Brennan said it was his expectation that the Government would fund the proposed additional signage and landscaping.

He also said it was in the Government’s interest to continue to promote the city after investing in major projects such as Transforming Bunbury’s Waterfront.

“The State Government has invested many millions of dollars into Bunbury and it’s in the State Government’s interest for Bunbury to remain a very attractive destination,” he said.

Mr McGowan said there were no ill feelings about the council expressing its concern.

“They can express concerns to me if they like but we’re going to get on and do it, make sure the needs of Bunbury are met and it’s well sign posted,” he said. “I’m pretty sure people driving south know where Bunbury is.”

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