Residents rally to block road plans: Scarborough Master Plan

Local residents Philip Smith, Nina McLaren and Robyn Murphy are opposed to plans to extend the Esplanade.  Picture: Andrew Ritchie         www.communitypix.com.au   d444737
Local residents Philip Smith, Nina McLaren and Robyn Murphy are opposed to plans to extend the Esplanade. Picture: Andrew Ritchie        www.communitypix.com.au d444737

A TRIGG environmental group is opposed to a road that will run through protected bushland as part of the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority’s (MRA) Scarborough Master Plan, adopted last month.

Friends of Trigg Beach have taken issue with the MRA’s claim that proposed northern and southern extensions to the Esplanade would not adversely affect the coastal environment.

The MRA’s vision for the future of Scarborough’s beachfront includes West Coast Highway traffic flow strategies that will cut through a section of bushland classed as Bush Forever.

Friends of Trigg Beach spokeswoman Robyn Murphy said the MRA’s claim the area was largely degraded and of low conservation value was “astounding” and not supported by fact.

“The claim reveals the organisation’s inexcusable ignorance of the importance of the coastal dune structure and vegetation to the local environment, residents and beach users,” Ms Murphy said.

An environmental assessment of the area in 2013 by ecologist Dr Judy Fisher stated it was a fragile ecosystem in need of care and management to protect and conserve the neighbouring Bush Forever dunal areas. Dr Fisher recommended the whole area be a high priority for immediate protection, management and investment, to ensure ongoing connectivity across this landscape, and reduce long-term management costs.

MRA chief executive Kieran Kinsella said the Scarborough Master Plan acknowledged the importance of the natural beachfront environment and would work to ensure that areas of core conservation value were maintained.

“Environmental protection measures including native revegetation, dune stabilisation and creating physical barriers to protect conservation areas will continue to be considered as part of these investigations and throughout the detailed design phase of the project,” Mr Kinsella said.

Mr Kinsella said the plan proposed extensions to the Esplanade, which were designed to improve access to the beachfront from the north and south, improve traffic flow by creating additional vehicle entry and exit points to Scarborough Beach, create a safe pedestrian environment, and prevent rat-running.

“The Department of Lands has advised that the area on which the extensions are proposed are currently classified as road reserve, a Class C Reserve,” he said. “Until the specific design elements, such as the alignment of the roads, roads treatments and landscaping are determined, the amount of land impacted cannot be determined.”

City of Stirling planning and development manager Ross Povey said the MRA advised the City that Main Roads WA was likely to support the new roads, as they would improve traffic flow.

“Bush Forever site is affected by the proposed northern access road for the Scarborough Beach Master Plan,” Mr Povey said. “Similarly, the proposed southern access road crosses through the Bush Forever site 310.”

Ms Murphy said mitigation measures by the MRA would not compensate for the loss of native vegetation, landform and animal habitat.

“That is why they are included in Bush Forever and are regionally and locally significant,” she said.