Application to modify Bunbury Farmers Market carpark open for public comment

General Manager Leith Johnston and Owner Kevin Opferkuch.
General Manager Leith Johnston and Owner Kevin Opferkuch.

THE BUNBURY Farmers Market has proposed alterations to its carpark and Vittoria Road access in an effort to improve traffic flow and pedestrian safety.

Following a consultation with the City of Bunbury and Main Roads Western Australia, the market has recently submitted a development application that is advertised through the city for 42 days.

The proposal outlines the need to widen Vittoria Road in order to construct a separate left hand only turn into the Market.

Rear access via Jubilee Road for two to three delivery trucks during business hours is also a crucial part of the application as the left hand only turn via Vittoria Road will be too narrow for trucks to safely enter the market.

Bunbury Farmers Market Owner Kevin Opferkuch said the development had been in planning for 18 months and initially was a suggestion from Main Roads WA who expressed concern for the safety of the Forrest Highway and Vittoria Road intersection.

"We then spoke with the City of Bunbury to develop our carpark into a one way in, one way out system through widening Vittoria Road and creating a left hand only turn. This development will be the difference in making this area absolutely safe," Mr Opferkuch said.

The single lane entry onto Vittoria Road from Forrest Highway has been known to cause traffic congestion from cars turning into the market, that has caused further issues for Glen Iris residents.

As part of the development, the market will reduce their number of carparking bays by 5 per cent.

"This isn't about bringing in more customers. We just want to try and improve the experience for our customers now. The market should be user friendly, we don't want people coming in here unhappy before they even get going," Mr Opferkuch said.

The Bunbury Farmers Market posted the proposal on its Facebook page on Tuesday, April 27 which received negative feedback from Glen Iris residents.

There were more than 200 comments on its post with the majority of the sentiment being that a concern of trucks going through residential areas.

There has also been the creation of a 'Say no to BFM's planning proposal' Facebook group which has 155 members.

General Manager Leith Johnston said the market had exhausted every option of trying to buy land from the surrounding areas to alleviate the stress on Vittoria Road, including looking into the creation of a slip lane off Forrest Highway.

"We were approached by the state government in regards to the slip lane, but the legislation along Forrest Highway says that no one gets access off a main highway unless it is for fuel," Mr Johnston said.

"We hadn't been able to think down this path without the input from Main Roads and city officers. We all want to make sure that people who are visiting are coming into a safe environment."

A City of Bunbury Spokesperson confirmed the queuing of vehicles back onto Vittoria Road has been an ongoing concern.

"This proposal looks to improve the car parking arrangements as well as pedestrian access and movement through the site. Also detailed is access for delivery vehicles along Jubilee Road in order to further reduce delays and traffic concerns at the Vittoria Road entrance," the spokesperson said.

The application also includes a fenced footpath for pedestrian use that connects Jubilee and Vittoria Roads.

Both Mr Opferkuch and Mr Johnston expressed concern that should councilors reject the development application, the traffic congestion issues would continue to risk the safety of regular users in Glen Iris.

"A lot of our feedback is love your market, hate your carpark. This development means that everyone can be a winner," Mr Opferkuch said.

"This is about Glen Iris and the precinct, not us. The intersection is dangerous and we've got to do something about it."

Changes to Bunbury Farmers Market parking are open to public comment until Tuesday, May 21 and can be found on the City of Bunbury website.

If you are interested in commenting on the proposal, it needs to be submitted via the City of Bunbury website bunbury.wa.gov.au.