Residents set to up the ante in ring road fight

Callum HunterSouth Western Times
Gelorup residents Kieran Noonan and Terri Sharp are prepared to chain themselves to trees and machinery as they ramp up their community’s fight against plans for the Bunbury Outer Ring Road.Picture: Callum Hunter
Camera IconGelorup residents Kieran Noonan and Terri Sharp are prepared to chain themselves to trees and machinery as they ramp up their community’s fight against plans for the Bunbury Outer Ring Road.Picture: Callum Hunter Credit: Picture: Callum Hunter

Gelorup residents have said they will chain themselves to trees and machinery if that is what it takes to stop construction of the Bunbury Outer Ring Road.

The warnings came after Main Roads said it was reviewing feedback it received from the recent Local Access Strategy Workshop, a claim residents Kieran Noonan and Terri Sharp scoffed at.

“The concern that we’ve got is that the ministers have just not responded,” Mr Noonan said.

“They haven’t come down to meet with the community, they haven’t come down to walk the corridor.”

The now confirmed corridor for the carriageway has raised a number of residential and cultural concerns for locals, including the encroachment on private land and the destruction of multiple culturally significant scar trees.

Mr Noonan said if the trees were to come down, they should be sent to the relevant ministers as “trophies of colonial war”.

In a written response to an email sent by Ms Sharp, a representative of Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said Main Roads had contacted the working party of the Gnaala Karla Booja Native Title Claim group to ‘request nomination of Aboriginal community representatives to consult regarding the BORR project’.

“An updated Aboriginal Heritage Survey of the southern section is planned now that the southern alignment option has been determined, this will supplement previous surveys undertaken for the project,” the spokeswoman said in the response.

According to residents, these issues could have been avoided if Main Roads considered their proposed alternative route, one that is shorter and bring less residential and environmental impacts.

In the same written response to Ms Sharp, the spokeswoman said no other corridors would be considered, although some alignment adjustments may be made.

“None of us want to get to that extreme of tying ourselves to trees and bulldozers, but the environment and the history of Gelorup warrants us to make a stand,” Ms Sharp said.

“If that stand is tying ourselves to trees and bulldozers, then there are members of the community who will be there for us and we will do that.”

A community information drop-in session in Gelorup has been planned by Main Roads for August 22.

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