Green light for Roe extension

Mike Nahan on the pedestrian bridge over Leach Highway, Rossmoyne in 2008, campaigning to finish Roe Highway.
Mike Nahan on the pedestrian bridge over Leach Highway, Rossmoyne in 2008, campaigning to finish Roe Highway.

The proposed extension has been the subject of a protracted dispute between groups keen for better traffic flow and those who claimed the Beeliar wetlands would be destroyed.

EPA chairman Paul Vogel said innovative strategies by the proponent to avoid, minimise and mitigate environmental impacts had been fundamentally important in the assessment, which resulted in recommendations for strict conditions incorporating offsets including restoration works, wetland acquisition, and provision of at least 234 hectares of Carnaby’s cockatoo and red-tailed black cockatoo foraging habitat.

‘The EPA recognises that this project has had a long history,’ Dr Vogel said.

‘The proposal attracted more than 3200 public submissions during the public review period and all the issues raised were considered by the EPA.

‘It is also important to note that from the outset, the proponent has recognised the regionally significant environmental values of the area, and has sought to apply innovative planning and design measures and construction techniques to the proposal.

‘This has set a new standard for major road projects in this type of sensitive environment.’

Mr Vogel said key environmental concerns raised by the EPA in 2003 had been addressed.

‘The proponent has met these concerns through the relocation of the original Bibra Drive interchange to Murdoch Drive and the construction of a 120m-long bridge over Roe Swamp ” to reduce fragmentation impacts to wetlands, fauna and vegetation ” and through offsets to mitigate impacts on environmental values,’ Dr Vogel said.

The EPA recommended limits to ground water abstraction and a requirement to allow fauna movement within Beeliar Regional Park.

It also recommended the implementation of an infrastructure plan detailing the alignment, dimensions and locations of the key proposal elements prior to construction ensuring the final road alignment and detailed design did not result in any additional impacts, a wetlands monitoring and management plan, and a flora and vegetation monitoring and management plan.

The report was open for a two-week public appeal period, closing September 27, 2013.

Appeals can be made at www.appealsconvenor.wa.gov.au.