Debunking Roe 8

Bernie Kaaks is a photographer and has lived with his wife in Bibra Lake for the past nineteen years. He is an avid yachting enthusiast. Now retired, he worked in the transport industry in both WA and interstate in a variety of management roles for more than 25 years.He describes himself as apolitical, but is passionate about the need to allow sensible community infrastructure projects to proceed without disruption by minority groups.

PIERS Verstegen’s view on Roe 8 (Thinking Allowed, “Reflections on Roe 8”, Herald, July 1, 2017) is breathtaking in terms of its tunnel vision and blatant bias.

His opening complaint about “shocking crimes” and the “desperate and dying days” of the Barnett government leaves no doubt as to where his loyalties lie and sets the tone for a version of events that was high on emotion and disappointingly short on fact.

My property, like many others, borders the Roe 8 reserve. We knew when we purchased the vacant block that we would eventually live next to a busy highway.

Like all the other blocks in the area, it was clear felled to make way for a building.

Roadways throughout the St Paul’s estate were also clear felled before road builders moved in to lay bitumen on what was once pristine bushland.

• One of the many mass protests that took place during the clearing works for the now-aborted Roe 8.

All this land, Mr Verstegen, contained the same unique tuarts, banksias, balgas and paperbarks that make up the Roe 8 reserve.

The main difference is that the area clear felled to make way for a residential subdivision is many times the 33 hectares required for Roe 8.

Why was there no outcry from the conservation lobby while this wanton destruction was going on?

Using Mr Verstegen’s reasoning then, we are also guilty of “shocking crimes” against the environment and the community.

So are the anti-social locals who used that pristine bushland as a rubbish tip, and the local youth who used it as a race track for their unlicensed dirt bikes.

More recently we have seen the development of the Bibra Lake Commercial Area.

It was also a piece of land with a remarkable similarity to the Roe 8 reserve.

Are those developers also guilty of shocking crimes?

Mr Verstegen has obviously not had a close look at the land that was prepared for the Roe 8 highway extension, for he spoke in his article of the “restoration of wetlands”.

Even a quick visit to the area or an aerial photograph would make it obvious that the disturbance to wetlands was miniscule.

The highway cut through the space between the northern end of Bibra Lake and the southern tip of North Lake, exposing the “Protect Our Wetlands” campaign as a desperate sham by the anti-Highway lobby.

Much of the highway reserve near Bibra Drive was already cleared, being the route of a major power transmission line.

So where are we now Roe 8 has been killed off?

Arguments between the Melville and Cockburn councils about widening Farrington Road will increase as more and more commercial vehicles use this suburban road to access Roe Highway.

The Bibra Lake commercial estate is effectively isolated. The green lobby is pushing for greater use of rail to move containers out of the port, blissfully ignorant of the effect this has on both transit times and costs, both important aspects of keeping Western Australia competitive.

Road safety has been sacrificed in the interests of protecting an environment that in the past two decades has not come anywhere close to the pristine bushland described by its so-called protectors.

What must be corrected, Mr Verstegen, is not the review of environment protection laws, but the misuse of existing laws by those who have an agenda and the finances to obstruct a vital infrastructure project.

6 responses to “Debunking Roe 8

  1. Mm yes naturally, because every one of us lives on a block that was formerly covered in pristine native bushland, we all share the ‘collective guilt’ you allude to. However, this makes the remaining pristine bushland (ie the land not yet cleared for our collective human activities) more valuable, not less valuable. Your argument isn’t really an argument at all, it’s just not getting what’s going on. Can a fish se the water in which it swims?

  2. thank you Bernie for your balanced, informed, professional and LOCAL view of an issue that should never have become an issue in the first place. We’ve known since the deletion of the FEB all those years ago, that it isn’t about the environment. The Labor campaign waged by Kim Dravniek, Lisa O’Malley and their cohorts, along with Cockburn and Fremantle Councils have based their campaign on furphies and fears the whole way through. It is shameful that Peter Newman and Piers Verstegen fed the fears with academic theories and sentimental environmental froth, thus fooling many impressionable, passionate, albeit ignorant people into their fray. Shame on the media for the lack of investigative and analytical coverage. But for the excellent attempts of Paul Murray at the West to bring sense to the issues, there could have been a few more.

  3. Couldn’t agree more Bernie
    Thanks for bringing some reality to the discussion.
    It’s such a bias one side debate fuelled by self interest mirco political groups.
    Who fuel fear-mongering and misinformation for their own political benefit.

    Sadly, what’s good for the whole city is rarely a focus with the anti council and its political masters
    Using emotion and fear over logic and common sense

  4. Hear hear, of course the clearing was miniscule. You only have to look on Google maps to see that what was taken by housing, far exceeds the road route.
    Grab a brain you guys. Talk about widening Farrington Rd. What nonsense. Labour has Always believe we don’t need new roads.

  5. NOW I wish The Now premier of our state could read this and re think ….They are spending more millions on fence hiring AS well as the millions already spent on clearing . We need another road or roads it is becoming so unsafe theses days it is not just trucks ,It’s cars as well . Please RE THINK Roe Freeway .
    Thank you so much for printing such an Artical on those thoughts.

  6. From what I understand the consequences of not moving ahead with Roe 8 were poorly communicated.
    I believe Stock Rd will move to 6 or more lanes, plus several other roads will need to be widened and upgraded also. Infrastructure Australia take into account environmental considerations when conducting planning, just a shame we didn’t listen to them.

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