Scarborough redevelopment: environmentalists concerned by road threat to Trigg Bush Forever sites

Environmentalists Philip Smith, Nina McLaren and Robyn Murphy  are concerned at plans to build roads through two Trigg Bush Forever sites.
Environmentalists Philip Smith, Nina McLaren and Robyn Murphy are concerned at plans to build roads through two Trigg Bush Forever sites.

ENVIRONMENTAL groups remain concerned about “untenable and unacceptable” plans to put roads through two Trigg Bush Forever sites.

As part of the Scarborough redevelopment, the planned road extensions from West Coast Highway traffic flow strategies will run through Bush Forever sites 308 and 310.

Robyn Murphy, the convener of the group Friends of Trigg Beach, said she was sceptical of the plans for the MRA to form a community reference group.

“We’re serious about this; we’re not going to be dragged into some half-baked process so that they can say they have consulted with community and environmental groups,” she said.

“There is a distinct and absolute lack of transparency so my concern about a community reference group is being drawn into a process that does not give us a choice in relation to the road extensions.

“We don’t want to be involved in a process which is about the design of the road, the route of the road, how it should be constructed; it should not be built there.”

MRA chief executive Kieran Kinsella said road extensions would reduce congestion around the foreshore and release some of the pressure on the Scarborough Beach Road/West Coast Highway intersection.

“We acknowledge the environmental value of the Scarborough beachfront and, in particular, appreciate its significance for the local community,” he said.

He said the approval process would take about six to 12 months.

“The MRA will continue to work with specialist environmental and planning consultants and consider input from the community advisory group,” he said.

Ms Murphy said an online petition with more than 1500 signatures showed support for blocking the proposed extension.

“I would suggest that the public outcry will be such that it is going to be very difficult for the State Government to be able to build these roads, particularly in a pre-election period,” she said.

Planning Minister Donna Faragher confirmed part of the $18 million funding would go towards the second stage, which included road extensions and landscaping.

The minister told the Stirling Times she recognised the environmental concerns and encouraged people to put their views forward.

“As part of the preparation for any approvals I will be establishing a community reference group which will enable those people with an interest in relation to the roads and other parts of the project to provide input,” she said.

“Issues surrounding Bush Forever and other matters will be considered in that way.”

“It is at the very early stages because it is the second phase the MRA will have to go through the normal environmental approval process as with any other major development.”

Friends of Trigg Bushland president Nina McLaren said the dunes in the area were in “pristine” condition.

“I question whether the environmental concerns are being considered,” she said. “We don’t believe the MRA is listening and we don’t believe our elected officials are listening either so it will be great to be on that community reference group.”

Mr Kinsella said details of the advisory group to represent a “broad range” of community interests were still being finalised.