Take Perth Freight Link fight to top, says East Fremantle Mayor

East Fremantle Mayor Jim O’Neill before the meeting.
East Fremantle Mayor Jim O’Neill before the meeting.

ABOUT 300 East Fremantle residents were told Premier Colin Barnett was the key to stop the proposed Perth Freight Link (PFL) cutting through their town at a community meeting last Wednesday.

“If he changes his mind, it doesn’t go ahead. Full stop,” East Fremantle Mayor Jim O’Neill said.

Mr Barnett’s State Government, with Federal Government support of $925 million, proposes to sign contracts before Christmas for the $1.6 billion truck toll road from Bibra Lake to 1km south of Stirling Bridge.

PFL plans have a six-lane cutting in East Fremantle and Mr O’Neill said it was unknown how the cutting’s access ramps and flyovers at Marion and High streets would affect adjacent homes.

“When the PFL goes to tender, and then the contracts are signed, it’s only then that the design will be worked out, and only then will be asked about things like sound walls,” Mr O’Neill said.

He said the PFL meant more diesel pollution and noise, and trucks at the port quadrupling to 13,200 daily by 2030 would jam south of Stirling Bridge.

“The option is to build a second bridge, but is that on the west or the east side, across the most-used part of the Swan River?” he said.

PFL opponents from Kwinana to Cottesloe want the Government to cap containers at Fremantle Port, build the second port at Kwinana planned for about 20 years, and do moderate improvements at dangerous intersections including Stirling Highway-High Street, and Tydeman Road, North Fremantle.

Curtin University transport researcher Cole Hendrigan said cities including Sydney and Melbourne had built new outer ports like that planned at Kwinana and the Latitude 32 truck-train container transfer centre planned nearby.

After PFL opposition, the Government started investigating a mooted $250m/km truck tunnel from the end of Stirling Highway to Hamilton Hill, which Fremantle MLA Simone McGurk said would put ventilation shafts in school ovals.

East Fremantle resident Marco Trupp said Melbourne’s unpopular East-West Link changed that state’s government.

Residents at the meeting then agreed to ask East Fremantle councillors to fight the PFL.

Rethink the Link protest, Stirling Bridge, East Fremantle, 9.30am, September 13.