Gelorup, Stratham residents calling for new Bunbury Outer Ring Road plans

Taking a stand: Gelorup residents gathered at the AFK mural/BWS on Bussell Highway on January 17. Photo: Thomas Munday.
Taking a stand: Gelorup residents gathered at the AFK mural/BWS on Bussell Highway on January 17. Photo: Thomas Munday.

WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti has been told to "toughen up" and meet with concerned Gelorup residents about the Bunbury Outer Ring Road.

Speaking to the Mail last week, Ms Saffioti was reluctant to visit the rural suburb.

"To be honest, some of the Facebook comments, photoshopped pictures etc. don't really encourage me to visit the area - I don't like those sorts of personal attacks," she said.

Opposition leader Liza Harvey couldn't believe the response and said "she needs to toughen up".

Gelorup residents have been calling for the transport minister to visit and listen to their concerns for an extended period of time.

During a peaceful protest in Dalyellup on Friday, Friends of the Gelorup Corridor inc. said their frustrations were growing.

"These elected Labor members have ignored our community's serious and legitimate concerns to the point of negligence," a group spokesperson said.

Ms Saffioti said the State Government, Main Roads, and the Gelorup community should work together on the BORR project.

"The corridor is currently going through the full environmental assessment process," she said.

"We are seeking to continue working with Main Roads' consultation group.

"I am encouraging the community to work with the consultation group to make sure that their issues are addressed."

Friends of the Gelorup Corridor inc. said the existing route for the southern part of the project was "decades out of date".

"We believe Main Roads WA should seriously consider the other alternate routes they have presented," they said.

"Gelorup is a tranquil, semi-rural community that residents cherish. The fauna and flora form a unique part of our community, and we are devastated by the environmental damage this freeway will cause.

"The BORR will be of great benefit if it is built in an appropriate, long-term position in an area that bypasses valuable conservation bushland and existing residential development. "

In September 2019, Main Roads referred the BORR's Southern Alignment to the Federal Department of the Environment and Energy for assessment.

The department held a public comment period last month, allowing residents to express their concerns.

The WA Environmental Protection Authority, who is also assessing the project, is expected to hold another public comment period later this year.

"Project development of the Southern Section is continuing on the current alignment as reserved in the Greater Bunbury Region Scheme," a Main Roads spokesperson said.

"A detailed alignment selection study has been completed for the Southern Section and concluded that the original alignment was the most appropriate.

"This study was informed by extensive surveys and investigations so that environmental and social impacts are understood, and are minimised as far as possible.

"Main Roads is aware of the concerns raised by select community members and has carried out an extensive community consultation program, including Community Reference Groups and direct meetings with landowners, to better understand these concerns and inform the community about the project."