Anti-Roe 8 campaigners want area to become tourist attraction


Rethink the Link’s Kim Dravnieks, Community Wildlife Corridor member Suzanne Smith, Save Beeliar Wetlands’ Felicity Bairstow, Rethink the Link’s Anita Straude with Rosie (dog), Community Wildlife Corridor member Nandi Chinna, and Save Beeliar Wetlands’ Kate Kelly celebrate the halt to work on Roe 8.
Rethink the Link’s Kim Dravnieks, Community Wildlife Corridor member Suzanne Smith, Save Beeliar Wetlands’ Felicity Bairstow, Rethink the Link’s Anita Straude with Rosie (dog), Community Wildlife Corridor member Nandi Chinna, and Save Beeliar Wetlands’ Kate Kelly celebrate the halt to work on Roe 8.

CAMPAIGNERS who fought for years to have Roe 8 scrapped said the cleared road reserve could potentially become an international tourist attraction.

The freshly minted Labor Government put an immediate stop to work on the $450m road – proposed to extend Roe Highway to Stock Road – after being elected last Saturday.

By then the previous Liberal Government had already completed its early works clearing program, with 40ha of native vegetation between Stock Road and Karel Avenue removed.

About 98ha of vegetation would have been removed had the road been finished.

Community Wildlife Corridor (CWC) member Nandi Chinna said there had been no break to celebrate the halt on work because phones were running hot with thousands of engaged people asking: ‘What can we do? We want to do something. We want to do it now’.

Ms Chinna said CWC, which formed two years ago, was keen rehabilitate the site and to help develop a “green-way” featuring cubby building areas for kids, walking paths, cycle paths, access paths and Aboriginal heritage sites linking Bibra Lake to South Beach.

“Tourists want an experience with nature,” she said.

“Imagine if they don’t have to go to the Kimberly or Albany. They’d have it here in Perth; imagine if that was here in Cockburn.”

Ms Chinna said local Banksia woodlands were an attraction because the diversity of species within them was difficult to replicate

“As a tourist attraction, people could get the bus or train to Murdoch, come down here and experience birds, wetlands and beautiful flora,” she said.

“That’s something that Perth can advertise. You can go on the Swan River, go to Cottesloe and you can go along the Community Wildlife Corridor and see the most amazing plants you will see anywhere else in the world.”

While there are hundreds of supporters keen to get to work, CWC member Suzanne Smith said patience was needed to ensure rehabilitation work was well planned.

Cockburn Mayor Logan Howlett said the area remained a Main Roads WA road reserve “and requires various approvals to gain access to the site”.

“I have no doubt from informal discussions with various parties that there is an eagerness to start a replanting program,” he said.

“The establishment of a working group would provide a starting point in order to produce an overall management plan for site’s rehabilitation.

“Consultation with Noongar Elders and Aboriginal people will be an essential element to any proposed works and how we can contribute to the healing process … ”

The State Government was sought for comment on its plans for the Roe 8 road reserve.