People packed into Gelorup’s community centre last Tuesday night for a Public Awareness Meeting regarding the potential for the proposed southern section of the Bunbury Outer Ring Road to cut through the suburb.
More than 300 people attended included representatives from Main Roads and the Shire of Capel, with community members voicing their concerns and asking questions.
Meeting organiser Jeff Mcdougall said the turn out showed just how passionate Gelorup people were about their community.
“It started off as a couple of neighbours talking about how the bypass will affect us so a meeting was called to get some answers,” he said.
“Having the bypass go through is just not on, it splits Gelorup in two, I’m not against the bypass but the Southern end is in the wrong spot and to build a fly over bridge worth $30 million to join us back up just doesn’t make sense to me.
“An elderly resident can’t sell their home because of the threat of the bypass going through their back yard.
“I think Main Roads are a bit short-sighted with their plan, they’re looking only a few years ahead when they should be looking at a 50 year plan.”
According to Main Roads, the Bunbury Outer Ring Road consists of three sections - the northern section between Forrest Highway and Boyanup Picton Road, the central section, which was completed in May 2013 and connects Boyanup Picton Road and South Western Highway and the southern section between South Western Highway and Bussell Highway.
The existing proposed alignment for the southern section of the project would go through Woods Road in Gelorup and direct traffic onto Yalinda Drive and Hastie Road.
Main Roads spokesman Dean Roberts said an extensive program of community and stakeholder consultation had begun with all the feedback from last week’s meeting to be used to inform the further planning and development of the road.
“As part of early project planning, Main Roads will review potential alternatives to Hastie Road, including Centenary Road,” he said.
“Main Roads has been undertaking planning and consultation for the Bunbury Outer Ring Road for a number of years and many of the issues raised this week had been canvassed previously.”
Nearby resident Phil Harbour said it was a necessary piece of infrastructure for future planning and growth in the Greater Bunbury region but its placement through Gelorup needed to be addressed.
“Large scale infrastructure spending needs to be future proofed, this Gelorup option is backwards in every way of the word,” he said.
“Pushing the southern Bunbury Outer Ring Road out further south makes sense on every level – the community will not be bullied into flawed proposals with pressure being put on locals to not speak out on this issue.”
Mr Roberts said the turnout to last week’s meeting demonstrated the high level of interest about the project from Gelorup residents with the Main Roads team appreciating the opportunity to hear the concerns and diverse views, first hand, from the people who spoke.
“Planning and project development work, to define the alignment will occur over the next 12 - 18 months and will include wider consultation with the Greater Bunbury community and all stakeholders to discuss project issues and minimise any potential impacts, including environmental, heritage, social and economic,” he said.
Main Roads is currently calling for nominations from residents, local businesses and community groups for two community reference groups to facilitate and enhance communication and collaboration.
Nominations close tomorrow, June 28, 2018. For more information visit project.mainroads.wa.gov.au.