PALMYRA residents are still in the dark over the future of their homes after an apparent bombshell during a meeting with premier Colin Barnett over the Perth Freight Link.
Tanya Smirk, who lives in Moody Glen just off Leach Highway, says the premier told residents at a November 26 meeting not to spend any money on their homes.
It suggests the Stock Road/High Street route is still very much alive despite prime minister Malcolm Turnbull agreeing to extra funding to put the PFL down a tunnel under Fremantle.
The road route would see around 70 houses in Palmyra demolished.
The meeting had been set up by Bateman Liberal MP Matt Taylor, who’ll be fighting for the area at the next election in the new seat of Bicton, which is touted as a must-win for Labor if it’s to topple the LibNat government.
“We were dumbfounded,” says Ms Smirk.
“It just created even more uncertainty and confusion in our minds.
“There was very little new information, apart from that valuations of our houses would be back-dated before we got our initial letters [regarding potential demolition] from the government last year.
“One resident has been told by Main Roads that we won’t discover our fate until the second half of next year.”
Labor Fremantle MP Simone McGurk says Ms Smirk and her neighbours are still in PFL limbo.
“The fact remains that there is still no clear route for the second stage of this road,” she says.
“Will it be a tunnel under houses in Hilton, Beaconsfield and White Gum Valley?
A staffer at the premier’s department said Mr Barnett’s stance on stage two was consistent and was recently reiterated on radio:
“As Roe 8 goes into construction, and that will take three years, we will then make the decision on the next stage,” Mr Barnett had said.
“It most likely will be a tunnel, but we’ve yet to decide if it definitely will be.”
Meanwhile, Roe 8 protests hit fever pitch this week as Main Roads started clearing bushland in Coolbellup. Protestors stopped traffic on North Lake Road, and Sarah Ward and Susan Flavell were arrested after chaining themselves to the gates of a construction company’s yard, delaying bulldozers from reaching the site.
At least six charges and 56 move-on notices have been issued by police since Roe 8 protests began in Coolbellup earlier this month.
According to Main Road’s website, the environmental work done as part of the project could actually improve an area that has over the years been degraded by industry, landfill and introduced flora.
Fremantle state Liberal candidate Hayden Shenton agrees, and says that in 10 years people will look back at the wetlands pass and wonder why there was such fuss.
“The effect to the wetlands is overstated and such pass-through will provide us a visual daily connection with nature,” he says.
“Considering the past treatment and current situation, the wetlands at this location will benefit from the Roe construction.
“We are a developing metropolis and we have to co-exist with nature and avoid
“All things considered; the Roe is part of a complete metropolitan ring road, almost complete after 60 years, and no one has delivered a realistic alternative.”
by STEPHEN POLLOCK