Calls for phone poll on Roe 8


Councillor Kevin Allen.       d458897
Councillor Kevin Allen.       d458897

COCKBURN residents could be polled by phone about their position on the controversial Roe 8 project.

West ward councillor Cr Kevin Allen said he wanted the City of Cockburn’s administration to produce a report into the possibility of a ReachTEL poll because of the wide-ranging debate and emotion drummed up by stage one of the $1.9 billion Perth Freight Link.

“The issue has been going backwards and forwards for years. You’ve got those opposed in some wards while some in other wards are for it. The only way to ascertain the community-wide position is with a poll,” he said.

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The City of Cockburn has not previously polled the community about Roe 8, which would extend Roe Highway to Stock Road via the Beeliar wetlands.

Cockburn councillors recently voted to offer $25,000 to the Save Beeliar Wetlands group to help its bid to halt Roe 8. That funding will be provided on the condition the group gains leave to appeal to the High Court of Australia.

Cr Allen said he was on the fence about the road and wanted to know what the wider community thought before ratepayer money was spent defending it.

“The simplest way to find out is a telephone poll,” he said.

“I hear people say ‘the majority this and the majority that’, but we don’t really know.”

Cockburn Mayor Logan Howlett said the City had formally opposed Roe 8 since 2001.

Proposed extensions on top of that, which would take the road through to Fremantle port, have also been rejected.

Mr Howlett said the council’s opposition was based on a number of factors, including the significance of the area to Aboriginal people, the need to protect the banksia woodlands and wetlands, and preventing freight that would “adversely impact on our communities”.

He said the $1.9 billion price tag attached to the PFL was not supported by a transparent business case and an outer harbour in Cockburn Sound was a more practical option.

Cr Steve Portelli, a PFL supporter, said the poll was a great idea but was probably five years too late.

“With the contract signings (expected within months) and physical earthworks thereafter, I would say it is waste of time and money to poll now,” he said.

“What I would like is the City to seriously look at how we can embrace the concept (of Roe 8) and work with it for the benefit of the community.

“We have a great chance to get some big money for Native ARC, the Wetlands Education Centre and so on, (then) we can then build a state-of-the-art facility. “

Cr Portelli said extra focus could be given to Thompsons and Yangebup Lake and other lake systems that “haven’t been made into a tourist precinct”.