Beach not Bitumen members take protest against road extensions to Parliament House

Beach not Bitumen members take protest against road extensions to Parliament House

ANTI-ROADS protestors donned ‘Beach not Bitumen’ T-shirts and fronted WA Parliament today to present a 3000-signature petition opposing planned roads as part of the $74 million Scarborough foreshore Redevelopment.

More than 150 protesters urged the Government and Opposition ahead of next year’s state election to ‘just say no’ to the road extensions north and south of the Esplanade which will encroach on Bush Forever sites 308 and 310.

Planning Minister Donna Faragher put out a media release ahead of the protest but was a no show at the event, but Scarborough MLA Liza Harvey addressed the crowd and said alternatives to the roads would be explored.

“I’ve said previously that there may be alternatives with Manning Street and Reserve Street and other access points,” she said.

“We need the beachfront to work for everyone; for families who have to drive there; it has to be a pedestrian friendly environment for everyone.

“The Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority put out a proposal to council a couple of weeks ago about expanding the development area; that is all part of stage two and it hasn’t gone through consultation, environmental approvals will still need to happen.

“I am your local member, I’ve lived there sine 1994 and I will continue use this area; I’m as passionate about it as you are.”

Mrs Harvey said she would ensure extensive community consultation would be carried out.

“I cannot responsibility just say ‘no’ until we’ve looked at the alternatives and I’ll ensure there is extensive community consultation; that hasn’t occurred properly to this point and I’ll make sure that happens so watch this space,” she said.

Opposition planning spokeswomen Rita Saffioti did not attend the protest but environment spokesman Chris Tallentire said if elected, Labor would honour requests to prevent the roads and called the plan a “terrible mistake”.

“What we’ve seen today (from the Planning Minister) is an announcement that is best described as putting this issue on ice until after the election,” he said.

“The petition shows the strength and support among the community, your voices need to be heard loud and clear, WA Labor do not want to see a road cutting off people access to the beach and want explore other options such as light rail and public transport.”

Beach not Bitumen convener Anthony James said signatures for the petition were still “pouring in”.

“My new career as a campaign speaker began three weeks ago, standing on a crate at Scarborough beach in the sand dunes and here we are today standing on the steps of Parliament House, I’m wondering where we are going next,” he said.

“This is where the decision can be made to stop these roads, we’re delivering a petition with 3000 signatures collected in only three weeks, they are just pouring in.”

Mr James said 93 per cent of respondents to the draft master plan did not support the roads and the community was not being listened to.

“Best practice development around the world is taking roads out of prime beachfront locations not putting them in,” he said.

“Let’s ask the minister to rule out the roads and make a genuine 21st century redevelopment down at Scarborough.”

Conservation Council WA executive director Piers Verstegen said the roads contravened State Government planning policies.

“The proposal to build a road through it is inconsistent with State planning policy 2.6, which is supposed to about allowing for coastal impacts such as sea level rises and State planning policy 2.8, which is about protecting bush forever areas,” he said.

“This coastal dune area is called Bush Forever; it is designated as Bush Forever, not bush for now.”