Rail rezoning riles

The State Government is planning to rezone the Lewington Street Public Open Space Buffer (LSPOSB) to build an extension to the Midland to Kwinana heavy freight railway.

Under Proposal 31, the Government would rezone LSPOSB from Urban, portions of Lots 50 and 801 Mandurah Road from Industrial, lot 150 Dixon Road from Unallocated Crown Land, Crown Allotment 2859 and portions of Crown Allotments 2259 and 2859 from Industrial, portions of Crown Allotment 4333 and Lots 123 and 479 from Primary Regional Roads reservation to Railway Reservation.

Part of Jecks Road road reserve would also be rezoned from Urban to Railways Reservation.

As previously reported in the Courier (December 23), the extension could affect residents in East Rockingham and cause disruptions and major alterations to Patterson Road, Ennis Avenue, Day Road and Mandurah Road.

Rockingham Beach resident Teresa Noakes said the group of residents was planning letter drops in the area to raise awareness of the proposal.

Ms Noakes previously worked to rezone the public open space buffer and said she would be “frustrated” if it was to be rezoned to allow the rail extension proposal.

“Twenty years ago, I was a City (of Rockingham) councillor and actively worked with the community to achieve a rezoning to public open space in this area,” she said.

“There was much activity with measuring noise, working together with industry and government agencies, such as Landcorp. This area (was) Crown land and was vested into the City of Rockingham to be managed.

“It was only rezoned 20 years ago and 20 years in planning is not a long time. (The rezoning to public open space) was a suitable plan and it hasn’t been taken onboard.”

Rockingham Beach resident David Winter described the proposed rail extension as a “poorly thought-out idea”.

“It beggars belief that any responsible government would decide to build a new heavy freight rail line so close to homes when this action will clearly compromise the safety and amenity of nearby residents,” he said.

“The community expects as a minimum that a project feasibility study was undertaken and released.”

Metropolitan Region Scheme Amendment 1297/57 said according to the Department of Transport, the current Kwinana Loop was “approaching capacity” and advised it was seeking alternatives to ensure future growth in rail-hauled freight could be accommodated and the proposed loop extension as planned was “an option being considered”.