Swan Valley tourism fears grow


Jenny and Peter Nuich, Cheryl Rogers, Cr Rod Henderson and Swan Valley Progress Association chairman Steve Leppard with other concerned locals and business owners.  Picture: David Baylis         www.communitypix.com.au   d452402
Jenny and Peter Nuich, Cheryl Rogers, Cr Rod Henderson and Swan Valley Progress Association chairman Steve Leppard with other concerned locals and business owners. Picture: David Baylis        www.communitypix.com.au d452402

Under the proposed Perth to Peel Green Growth Plan, a 40m-wide ‘northern services corridor’ on the east side of West Swan Road would be dug up to allow for a pipeline.

The Perth to Peel Green Growth Plan is a proposed strategy to help accommodate Perth’s expected population boom of 3.5 million people by 2050.

Resident Cheryl Rogers said the proposed northeastern region plans would affect 31 properties – including hers – between Reid Highway and Gnangara Road.

“As land owners who farm east of the West Swan tourist route, we are very concerned,” she said.

“It appears from Figure 23 in the draft Perth Peel Green Growth Plan that there is a northern services corridor planned to travel through land in the vicinity of the Swan Valley’s West Swan Road tourist route.

“Local knowledge tells us this; Figure 23 does not.

“We’re confused and angry about being kept in the dark.”

Ms Rogers said another concern she and other residents had was the poor quality of the map.

“There are no roads marked and the scale is a whopping 1:300,000,” she said.

“This is a map in a document out for public comment, but how are we supposed to know where exactly the corridor will run?

“Unfortunately it would appear they don’t want the public to have the information.”

Ms Rogers also said residents’ requests for more meaningful maps had been refused.

“I keep hitting brick walls when trying to source a larger, labelled copy of Figure 23, as do others who are trying,” she said.

“Although the Government said it released ‘more detailed maps’ last week in response to Opposition pressure, these maps shed no light at all on this or any other proposed infrastructure.”

However, the Department of Planning said “the alignment of the Northern Pipeline Corridor is indicative and conceptual only, and the mapping that is currently available as part of the draft Green Growth Plan documents reflects this.

“The final alignment of the corridor has not been determined,” a spokesperson said.

“Comprehensive mapping of the Northern Pipeline Corridor will be undertaken during the detailed planning stage and landholders will be consulted at this time taking into consideration technical, environmental and social considerations.”

Ms Rogers said another concern she had was the closing date of the public comment period.

“The closing date was extended to May 13, but this means nothing if the public do not have accurate information upon which to comment,” she said.

“The Department of Premier and Cabinet told me not to worry too much about it because it wouldn’t happen for at least another 20 years.

“But then why is it a draft document that is out for public comment?

“This indicates to me the legislation for this corridor will go through soon and then the preferred route is set.”

Nuo’s Grapes owner Peter Nuich stands to lose his and his wife’s business if the corridor is approved.

“We will lose two houses, three quarters of our shed and a cool room, where grapes are stored,” he said.

“One of the houses was built more than 60 years ago and the other 45 years ago.

“The land around the pipeline will be useless; we won’t be able to farm or build over it.”

Mr and Mrs Nuich have marked where 40m from West Swan Road is on their property.

The marker indicates that the vineyards, their most valuable asset, would need to be moved for the corridor.

“It’s a big conundrum,” Mr Nuich said.

“The grapevines would have to be relocated, when they’re telling us we’re meant to be preserving them.

“You can’t measure that loss, that’s our income.”

Mr Nuich contacted the Water Corporation, the facilitator of the proposed pipeline, which echoed the Department of Premier and Cabinet’s comments.

“The Northern Pipeline Corridor is a long term project,” community engagement manager Emily Santostefano said.

“It is unlikely to be required within the next 20 years, and detailed planning for the corridor is not expected to commence for at least 10 years,” Swan/Gidgegannup Ward councillor Rod Henderson described the plans as “crazy”.

“The Perth Peel project is a long term plan for the state, and I support that,” he said. “But the pipeline and the placement of it I’m not happy about.”

Cr Henderson said the corridor was originally going to be built east of the Swan Valley, along Great Northern Highway.

“Now it’s moved to the other side, along a busy tourist route.

“If you look at the Swan Valley Planning Act zone, the line that follows Henley Brook Ave where it becomes urban, has sandy soils.

“But the soil along West Swan Road is good soil, where there’s vineyards and lots of agriculture.

“It seems they have not used their heads and gone along Henley Brook Ave.”

Ms Rogers agreed, saying “we need infrastructure, but let’s not destroy our good agricultural land,” she said.

“If the east side of the road suffers, so will the other side, and it could wipe out tourism here altogether.

“This is where the effects flow on far beyond the northern services corridor.”