Freo's View

PORT DEBATE SHOULD NOT BE POLITICAL FOOTBALL

 

Roe 8

 

It is a shame that the future of Fremantle Port has become a political football with self interest groups battling it out.

There is another attack by the pro Liberal West Australian on Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt today and the Libs have also paid for a wrap around of the Fremantle Herald to tell us all how fantastic Roe 8 would be.

Let’s just pause and be clear about some of the issues here. First of all the Liberal party lost the last state election by a landslide and the Labor party had promised not to build Roe 8. Second is that the Perth Freight Link the Barnett government wanted never made it over the Swan River or dealt with the bottleneck in North Fremantle. It stopped at Stirling Highway and hence was not offering the solutions needed.

Traffic on Leach Highway is mainly general private traffic and not trucks to and from Fremantle Port, and truck movements to the port have decreased significantly the last year or so.

The Town of Kwinana and the Western Harbour Alliance are only promoting a new port at Kwinana for obvious reasons, while Fremantle wants the cake and eat it too by wanting to keep a working port but also developing Victoria Quay while reducing the traffic issues at North Fremantle and not inconveniencing residents along the railway line with more frequent container trains. They can’t have it all!

The MUA is only worried about wharfies losing jobs if a Kwinana Port is built because automisation at a new port would mean fewer jobs for MUA members.

Truck companies whinge about Leach Highway traffic because a new Kwinana Port would be mainly road based freight, according to the recent Westport Taskforce report, so that means more work and money for the road transport industry.

Those who fought for the Beeliar Wetlands seem a lot less concerned about the environmental impact on Cockburn Sound, and in general no one really talks about the impact massively increased freight traffic would bring to the Kwinana region and the residents there.

The political decision about Roe 8 has been made and the voters agreed with it, so the silly push by the Liberal party and West media is ignoring democracy. At the same time the City of Fremantle needs to start being pro-active about where to go when-it’s not if-Freo will lose its working port. It might still be 10-15 years away but it will happen, no matter how much the Mayor talks up the potential for Fremantle Port to handle a lot more containers.

In my opinion Fremantle will be a lot less attractive once it loses the vitality of the working port, but level headed discussions are needed and we need to be pragmatic and realistic about the options and opportunities. Making it all into a political football is silly, immature and unprofessional.

Roel Loopers

IS WESTPORT SHORTLIST PREMATURE?

 

It is predictable that Garreth Parker in today’s column in the pro Liberal Sunday Times claims that the Westport Taskforce is flawed because it did not consider Roe8/9 as a potential solution, but that is for two reasons. There is no potential Roe 8/9 offered that had a solution for the North Fremantle traffic congestions, as the Barnett government experts could not find a way of connecting the last part of the highway extension into the port, and the second reason is that the McGowan government was elected with a landslide on the promise not to build Roe 8/9.

While I believe the Westport Taskforce process has been very good I am surprised they announced the preferred shortlist of options before environmental assessments have been made about the impact a potential new port in Kwinana might have on Cockburn Sound and what impact the mainly land-based transport options would have on local communities away from Leach Highway and North Fremantle.

What if the EPA and other agencies rule that marine life would be far too much threatened in Cockburn Sound and that a new port is not acceptable? Do we start from scratch again and repeat the whole expensive progress without a new Kwinana port as an option?

Public information and transparency are very important, but maybe it was just premature to announce a shortlist of options with a new Kwinana port as the first option before we understand the impact it might have on the very important Cockburn Sound.

Roel Loopers

Comments Off on IS WESTPORT SHORTLIST PREMATURE?

LET WESTPORT TASKFORCE FINISH THEIR JOB!

 

It is disappointing that the in my opinion very thorough Westport Taskforce is now being criticised by the WA Liberal opposition and their PR agency the West Australian.

For two years the taskforce has dealt with all the stakeholders and conducted excellent community consultation but now they are being criticised for not having considered the Perth Freight Link.

Might it be the PFL was not considered because it fails to offer a solution on how to get freight faster and better to Fremantle Port because the PFL stopped at the Fremantle traffic bridge without any improvements to the North Fremantle bottleneck?

The Westport Taskforce preferred option is for the container port to be shifted to a new port at Kwinana and I believe that is most likely what the State Goivernment will decide on if all environmental approvals can be obtained that show that the impact on Cockburn Sound can be managed. It is unlikely the stevedores will support double handling of moving containers from Fremantle to Kwinana on barges as that would add costs and time.

For the City of Fremantle it is important to start planning what to do if we lose the great cranes and containers and most of the wharfies and port related office workers in town. Fremantle Port is so much part of Fremantle’s unique character and if we lose it we are in serious trouble as cruiseliners only come for a few months during the summer period.

While development at Victoria Quay would link the port better to the Fremantle CBD, a port without cranes and ships becomes just the river mouth of the Swan River.

The Westport Taskforce is still investigating and not finished yet and will now have to research if the Kwinana option is environmentally safe, so why not let them do their work without interfering and political finger pointing.

Roel Loopers

 

Comments Off on LET WESTPORT TASKFORCE FINISH THEIR JOB!

SILLY MEDIA PUSH FOR REJECTED PERTH FREIGHT LINK

 

I find it quite astonishing that the West Australian and its related West Media outlets keep pushing for the Roe 8 highway to be built when the McGowan Labor government received a clear mandate for scrapping the Perth Freight Link when it won the last WA election by a huge landslide.

While the West never forgets to remind us that the Federal Liberal government have a mandate because they won the recent election that does not appear to apply for Western Australian politics.

The Perth Freight Link was a failed concept that did not have a solution for the bottleneck in North Fremantle.  Recent articles and letters failed to acknowledge that according to Mainroads 90 per cent of vehicles using the PFL would be private vehicles, so it is wrong to suggest this was just going to be some kind of fast toll road for trucks to and from Fremantle Port.

Now that the new state government has established the Westport Taskforce to see what the best location for a new port might be it is highly premature for the West and state and federal Liberal politicians to keep pushing for Roe 8, 9, 10 and whatever. Let’s just wait and see what the recommendations of the task force are before spending billions of dollars on a highway extension that might not be needed.

The people voted against Roe 8 so the McGowan government has a mandate to not build it.

Roel Loopers

ROE 8 HIGHWAY ROAD RESERVE TO BE REZONED

 

PFL

 

The WA State Government will today introduce legislation in Parliament to scrap the  Perth Freight Link/Roe 8 highway extension road reserve, and rezone 86 hectares of the Beeliar Wetlands into parks and recreation in the Metropolitan Region Scheme.

It will be a challenge to get it through the Legislative Council though and might need cross benchers to achieve the goal.

While I welcome the protection of the Beeliar Wetlands I wonder if this move is not premature with the Westport Taskforce handing its first report to the Minister soon, which will state that there are no ‘fatal flaws’ for the expansion of Fremantle Port, Kwinana and Bunbury Port, so road connectivity will have to be part of the considerations to either expand Fremantle Port, or move part of the port operations to Kwinana and/or Bunbury.

Roel Loopers

 

PETER NEWMAN WA SCIENTIST OF THE YEAR

Posted in city of fremantle, perth freight link, roe 8 highway, sustainability, Uncategorized by freoview on August 16, 2018

 

Fremantle Professor Peter Newman was awarded the WA Premier’s Award of Scientist of the Year 2018 on Wednesday night.

Newman heads the Curtin University of Sustainable Policy-CUSP and is renowned as a sustainable cities advocate. He also strongly opposed the Roe 8 and Perth Freight Link.

Roel Loopers

Comments Off on PETER NEWMAN WA SCIENTIST OF THE YEAR

MORE PROTECTION FOR BEELIAR WETLANDS!

 

Here part of a just released media statement concerning the Beeliar Wetlands by the WA State Government:

  • Approval removed for road construction in the Beeliar Wetlands
  • McGowan Labor Government’s commitment to protect Beeliar Wetlands confirmed
  • Alternatives to flawed Perth Freight Link plan already underway 

The McGowan Labor Government has introduced further protections to the Beeliar Wetlands by removing approvals put in place by the former government when planning to build the flawed Perth Freight Link.

Main Roads Western Australia has applied to amend environmental approvals for the Perth Freight Link to remove consent to build a road west of Bibra Drive to Stock Road, passing through the Beeliar Wetlands.

The proposed changes will result in a reduction in the land permitted for road construction from 167 hectares (ha) to 81.2 ha.

The remaining 85.8 ha within the project development envelope will be rehabilitated, along with the large sections of vegetation that had been cleared prior to the last election, west of Bibra Drive. 

Meanwhile, all land owned in freehold by the State Government – north of Hope Road and west of Bibra Drive – will be amalgamated and set aside as an A-Class conservation reserve to be managed by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions. 

This process will be given priority by the Government and it is likely this will be achieved within the next 12 months.

A Rehabilitation Management Plan (Roe 8 Cleared Areas) has been prepared by the Rehabilitating Roe 8 Working Group and is currently being considered by government for adoption and implementation.

Comments Off on MORE PROTECTION FOR BEELIAR WETLANDS!

NEW PUBLIC DEBATE ON ROE 8

 

 

The announcement by WA Premier Mark McGowan about the Fremantle High Street upgrade has resurrected the debate about the canceled Perth Freight Link and Roe 8 highway.

There have been quite a few letters in the West Australian in support of Roe 8 and the PFL and there was an opinion piece by Liza Harvey MLA, who was the deputy premier of the previous government under Colin Barnett.

It is very intriguing to note that Liza Harvey now suddenly writes there would be other options for the McGowan government to consider than going through the Beeliar wetlands. If that is the case, why did the former Liberal/National state government not consider those options but instead, and in spite, decided to start the demolition of the wetlands, although all the indications were that they would be kicked out of government. Liza Harvey’s hypocrisy is unbelievable.

Fact is also that the Perth Freight Link was not exclusively for freight and trucks, as some letter writers claim and that it actually did not go to Fremantle Port but finished at Stirling Highway. A part solution really was no solution. Ask North Freo residents!

The new plans are not ideal either as they don’t address pedestrian crossing adequately and while I do like roundabouts I don’t like that so many Perth motorists don’t seem to know how to use them, so that could become a problem.

Freight trucks have overturned in the past at the intersection of High Street and Stirling Highway because of taking the corner at excessive speed, a roundabout won’t fix that problem either.

A new outer harbour is still a very long way away and freight to the port will no doubt increase, so when is the state government going to address more freight by rail?

Roel Loopers

PEOPLE POWER SAYS NEVER AGAIN!

Posted in beeliar wetlands, city of fremantle, perth freight link, Uncategorized by freoview on December 5, 2017

 

 

I just received a copy of the fascinating NEVER AGAIN book about the Roe 8+9 highway and Perth Freight Link by Andrea Gaynor, Peter Newman and Philip Jennings.

Although I have only read a few pages and flicked through the substantial book, I highly recommend it as a Christmas present because it is the very uplifting and inspiring story of people power and grassroots impact.

As Professor Tim Beatley of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville writes in his foreword, It is the story of the world.

Andrea Gaynor and Peter Newman write that it was remarkable that the despoliation of the Beeliar wetlands and Coolbellup bushland was carried out by the Colin Barnett government in the last few months of an unpopular and desperate government.

They say that previous environmental and Aboriginal heritage assessments were overruled to accommodate the development and that is was about a federal government funding a foisted and unwanted project on a vulnerable community, and that the story is about an extraordinary grassroots campaign.

The freight tollroad to nowhere, which would have stopped 3km from Fremantle Port near Stirling Highway, and that would have severely impacted on the black cockatoo habitat and Aboriginal heritage was stopped by the community when it kicked out the Barnett government.

One of the first announcements by new Premier Mark McGowan was that the Perth Freight Link would not be built, as he had campaigned for during the election.

The book authors say the Roe 8 process raises many important issues about the processes of government and agencies such as Mainroads and the EPA.

They ask what kind of integrated transport planning process can be introduced to prevent unwanted development being forced upon the community.

In an optimistic note they write that the Beeliar Wetlands are evidence that community leadership can drive a sustainable and inclusive process where and when political leadership fails.

The Perth Fright Link saga has shown that the community does not have to accept government decisions and that it is our democratic right to stand up for the protection of our heritage and environment, and that future generations expect that off us.

Buy some copies for Christmas presents!

Roel Loopers

Disclosure: Two of my photos are printed in the book, which I supplied free of charge.

Comments Off on PEOPLE POWER SAYS NEVER AGAIN!

THE PLANNING OF KWINANA PORT FORUM

Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle ports, perth freight link, Uncategorized by freoview on November 17, 2017

 

PFL protest

 

There is a forum on the planning of a Kwinana Port this coming Monday, November 20 at Victoria Hall in Fremantle. It is on from 7pm-9.30 pm.

The Kwinana Outer Harbour has been in the pipeline for over twenty years and was the solution to freight hitting Fremantle long before the Perth Freight Link was dreamed up. The new Westport Task Force was recently formed by the State Government to finally make it a reality. 

Nicole Lockwood, Chair of Westport will talk of her plans,  and Fremantle Mayor Dr Brad Pettitt will speak on the opportunities this opens up for Fremantle.

Infrastructure adviser Cameron Edwards will speak on why a Kwinana port will lead to jobs growth and massive economic potential for WA, Professor Philip Jennings on the environmental considerations, and Professor Peter Newman on transport planning and why this all makes sense.

A Q&A will follow presentations.

The Western Harbours Alliance purpose is to help establish new partnerships between community, government and business to create the opportunities and overcome the barriers to building a new 21st century port in the Perth Metropolitan Region, bringing great economic, employment and social benefits for the people of Western Australia. WHA is a member of the Westport Reference Group.

http://www.westernharboursalliance.com

Comments Off on THE PLANNING OF KWINANA PORT FORUM

%d bloggers like this: