THE City of Cockburn will liaise with Perth Freight Link (PFL) contractors in a bid to mitigate risks to residents after a special council meeting last Thursday night.
In November the council voted to block talks between itself and the Roe 8 alliance, a consortium overseeing the first stage of the $1.9 billion project, until all legal avenues against the road had run their course.
With those exhausted and substantial land clearing already under way, councillors took |little time voting through a recommendation from engineering and works services director Charles Sullivan suggesting the city get involved, even though it remains opposed to it.
In a report to councillors, Mr Sullivan said city staff needed to consult with the consortium to establish appropriate traffic management measures to mitigate the risk to contractors and protesters along Hope Road.
“The alliance is at the planning stage where new roads connect with existing roads and noise walls are undergoing final design work,” he said.
“Under normal circumstances this would involve significant consultation with the city’s engineering officers to ensure that the City’s residents are not compromised by poor planning decisions and also to ensure that the city optimises any potential benefits from the project.”
Cockburn Mayor Logan Howlett said the City remained opposed to the Perth Freight Link, but needed to ensure people on site were safe.
Cockburn chief executive Stephen Cain said the divisive project was at a serious juncture.
“From a safety perspective people parking down either side of Hope Road (in Bibra Lake), where we have contractors moving large vehicles in and out of the site, represents an area of public risk to safety,” he said.
“The only way we can address that is to bring traffic management along Hope Road.”
He said the City could now engage with contractors to see that introduced.
Rethink the Link convenor Kim Dravnieks said the extra supervision at the site would be good, with hundreds of protesters and workers coming and going each day.
Pro Roe 8 member Steve Greenwood welcomed the decision, but said it should have been made previously.
The Hammond Park resident said he was keen to see the road built because getting to Fre-mantle was “a nightmare”.
“I see infrastructure as an important part of Perth growing as a city,” he said.
“To get to Fremantle is a nightmare. Cockburn Central is a no-no for me and there are too many sets of lights if you head in from Russell Road. A direct link will be good.”
Mr Greenwood argued the proposed outer harbour at Cockburn Sound was potentially more harmful to the environment than Roe 8.
A spokeswoman for Main Roads WA and the Roe 8 Alliance welcomed the City’s decision.
“While this opportunity to engage with the council will increase the opportunity to fully consider local issues and improve the project’s integration into the local network, the early works program has not been hindered to date and the project has progressed on schedule,” she said.