MORE than 50 protesters rallied in Bibra Lake this morning as Main Roads conducted water monitoring tests in preparation for the Roe 8 extension.
The Roe 8 extension, the first stage of the Perth Freight Link (PFL), will extend Roe Highway from the Kwinana Freeway through to Stock Road through the Beeliar wetlands.
Main Roads contractors began drilling near the intersection of Progress Drive and Hope Road.
They are expected to be there all day.
About 10 police officers, including mounted police, cordoned off the area where work was being done, but did not try to move on protestors.
Main Road project director Terry Pearce said Main Roads was there to install bores as part of its groundwater monitoring program in preparation for Roe 8.
“We’re doing this work at the behest of the Environmental Protection Authority, with their approval and endorsement,” he said.
“It’s a condition of the environmental approval (for Roe 8).”
Cockburn Mayor Logan Howlett called on Main Roads to cease work immediately.
“I’m aware of the approval that’s been given but we believe that will be tested in the courts,” he said.
“There’s a court case pending which we believe will lead to the ceasing of this activity and the construction of Roe 8.
“This is very important land to the Aboriginal people and the local people, so we’re asking you to authorise the ceasing of the works that are currently occurring here.”
Mr Pearce said he did not have the authority to cease work.
“We’re only working in cleared area so there’s no clearing, there’s no impact on the environment,” he said
“We’ve come up a cleared track, working in an already cleared area.”
“The information we get out of this will inform the Department of Waters’ database so even if the project didn’t proceed the DoW is a winner because it’s got more information about the water in this area of the Beeliar Wetlands chain.”
Mr Howlett said the information should have been gathered before environmental approval was granted for the project.