Outer Ring Road concerns raised once more

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times
The proposed northern intersection of the Bunbury Outer Ring Road continues to be a point of concern for Bunbury City Council.
Camera IconThe proposed northern intersection of the Bunbury Outer Ring Road continues to be a point of concern for Bunbury City Council.

Bunbury City Council will express its disappointment to Premier Mark McGowan over fears the northern design of the Bunbury Outer Ring Road will have a significant detrimental effect on the city’s economy.

While the council was divided in its view during debate on Tuesday night, councillors voted to ask Mr McGowan to reconsider a request for the northern interchange to be redesigned after Transport Minister Rita Saffioti previously denied it.

Debate over the issue was at times heated among councillors with Mayor Gary Brennan at one point reminding Cr Brendan Kelly that the item was a serious matter.

The warning came after Cr Kelly claimed the motion was “no more worthwhile than the council collectively skipping down Victoria Street in onesies, singing ‘I Want To Break Free’.”

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The council last year raised its concerns over the proposed northern intersection with fears it was convoluted and would not keep Forrest Highway as the predominant road into Bunbury.

Those fears were echoed on Tuesday night when councillors speaking in favour of taking the issue to the State’s leader argued the design would be a “significant hindrance” to south-bound motorists and that the council had an obligation to “shout loudly” on behalf of the community.

But others appeared hesitant at taking the matter further, questioning what ramifications taking “a hammer” to the State Government would have.

Cr Michelle Steck labelled the move as “crazy stuff”.

“I don’t believe it’s in council’s best interest to be running around and telling the State Government what they ought to do in their term of office,” Cr Steck said.

“We are looking for further funding for some key significant products in this city ... I don’t see any real reason why you’d pick up a hammer and go smash the Government.”

Cr James Hayward showed a video presentation in his attempt to persuade councillors to support further action and said the council must stand up for the community.

“We do want the State’s investment ... I don’t think that means we turn a blind eye to something that potentially could be significantly detrimental,” Cr Hayward said.

“We don’t know any absolute certainty about the effect it’s going to have, but I know that business is pretty tough in Bunbury now.

“This is not about trying to blow up the Government, it’s about trying to get their attention and say you need to look at this because people in Bunbury are important.”

It was clear throughout debate the council supports the ring road project, but it had strong concerns over the northern section.

Ms Saffioti told the Times she was “deeply disappointed” the council wanted to make the project a “political football”.

“Their key argument relies on the flawed logic that motorists will not be smart enough to use one of several interchanges to exit and visit Bunbury – it just doesn’t make sense,” she said.

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