Diverse range of issues causes delay in report into freight solutions

Photo: Jon Bassett
Photo: Jon Bassett

A STATE Government taskforce investigating a new port blames complexity for delaying its first report, which could set in motion Cottesloe and North Fremantle container traffic solutions.

In September, a union-organised public meeting heard a new port could take 10 to 20 years to open, even if a decision for its construction was immediate.

The taskforce’s first stage ‘What we found so far’ report, about what is missing from 40 years of port planning, was scheduled to be released at the end of October.

Westport Taskforce chair Nicole Lockwood said the report had delved into a diverse array of issues.

“The nature of our investigations means that many other portfolio areas are also touched upon, and this includes environment, planning, fisheries, energy, industry, mining, innovation, defence, tourism, agriculture, regional development, local government, Aboriginal affairs and others,” she said.

Ms Lockwood said nothing was now being edited from the report, it would be an “accurate summary” of the first stage, but without timings, port proposals or costs.

About 12 per cent of containers go through Cottesloe to northern suburbs, creating dangers at the Eric Street bridge, due for replacement in 2020, and the Grant Street Station on Curtin Avenue.

Ms Lockwood said a second report would recommend truck solutions for Tydeman Road, North Fremantle.

She also said the taskforce had worked with Main Roads and other government departments about the avenue, and dealing with its heavy traffic in the interim two decades would be in a final Westport Strategy.

“It will have to be well-argued to be accepted by the residents of Cottesloe and the wider westerns suburbs,” Cottesloe Residents and Ratepayers Association secretary Yvonne Hart said.

Ms Hart said the taskforce should make clear western suburbs’ freight traffic solutions, but the best would be fast-tracking a new port.

Transport Minister Rita Saffioti’s spokesman said the first-stage report was due for release “soon”, after some final talks with stakeholders.