THE McGowan government has extended the public consultation phase of the rezoning of the old Roe Highway corridor after public outcry.
Environmental groups and residents who’d heavily backed the government’s promise to scrap the highway before the 2017 state election – some being arrested during protests – were shocked by the level of residential housing indicated in a discussion plan released late last month (“Roe warrior fear betrayal,” Herald, November 5, 2022).
At consultation sessions run by the state planning, lands and heritage department, staffers were inundated by stakeholders who had a raft of suggestions and a singular message – the environment needed better.
Friends of Clontarf Hill organiser Christine Duckham said they’d called for the consultation to be extended so an environmental impact assessment the department had commissioned RPS Consultation to undertake could be taken into account.
“We are concerned that the RPS survey is likely to have a narrow scope, to avoid documenting the all-important ecological context of the corridor in this report,” Ms Duckham said.
“The public needs to have a chance to comment on this report at this stage, not later.”
Federal Fremantle Labor MP Josh Wilson shied clear of saying the state’s approach had been heavy-handed, but said he agreed with “broad community sentiment” that it was a special opportunity and “planning for the corridor should be done carefully.
“One of the brilliant legacies of the massive community effort over the summer of 2016-17 to defeat the ridiculous Perth Freight Link is the opportunity now to shape the future of the so-called Roe 9 corridor,” Mr Wilson said.
“I am personally heartened by the way the McGowan Labor government has moved to protect the Beeliar Wetlands and take a range of actions on the sustainable housing diversity, active transport and community infrastructure front.
“I’m looking forward to working with community members, state colleagues, the City of Cockburn, local schools, the Cockburn Basketball Association and others to realise the great potential in that corridor.
“It’s a once in several generations opportunity to ensure that this special area creates a vibrant, active transport corridor.”
Consultation is now open until Friday January 20 at https://consultation.dplh.wa.gov.au/