Glen Iris residents protest Bunbury Farmer's Market development proposal

OVER 50 Glen Iris residents marched to the Bunbury Farmers Market on Saturday May 1 to protest the Market's new development proposal.

In a story covered by the Mail last week 'Safe access to market', it was announced the market had submitted a proposal to the City of Bunbury which would see the widening of Vittoria Road in order to construct a left hand turn to alleviate traffic congestion and improve safety.

As part of the proposal, two to three delivery trucks a day during operating hours would be re routed down Jubilee Road and Alyxia Drive to enter the market.

Glen Iris Residential Group spokesperson John Kowal said the residents of Vittoria Heights and surrounds were up in arms in distress about the trucks.

"If those trucks start coming through here the residents will feel, see, hear and smell them. It will have a direct impact on 40 to 50 houses. These residents have invested heavily in their properties. Any pedestrian, cyclist or driver will be impacted," Mr Kowal said.

On Saturday May 1, Mr Kowal was supported by Glen Iris residents at Sundew Park in Vittoria Heights.

Over three pages of a petition were signed by residents at the protest, highlighting the reasons of opposing the development proposal as congestion, excessive noise and danger to residents and their families.

Alyxia Drive resident David Ashworth was at the protest and said the market clearly had no consideration for the residents in their proposal.

"What they've submitted is a smoke screen of safety, but it's a move simply to gain revenue," Mr Ashworth said.

"Many of the residents around here are shift workers and also people of the older demographic with grandkids who play on the streets. It will be dangerous."

Coral Dandridge professed anger that residents were not informed before the development proposal went to the city for public comment.

"No one from the council even did a random door knock to ask us what we thought. These roads are not built for what they want to do. If we wanted to live on a highway then we would have," Ms Dandridge said.

In his speech to the residents, Mr Kowal pointed out holes he had found in the development proposal that was met with unanimous agreeance from residents.

"First of all they've said operating hours, not business hours. And secondly they said three of our trucks, but there are other trucks that deliver produce that aren't owned by the Market themselves."

"I urge the council to come together with the business and stand up as leaders. They need to come up with a long term solution, not a Band-Aid one."

Four councilors from the City of Bunbury were at the protest but did not comment due to a potential conflict of interest for when the proposal goes to the council for vote.

After Mr Kowal addressed the residents, the protest moved to outside the market along Forrest Highway, where Bunbury Farmers Market Owner Kevin Opferkuch stood facing signs that said 'Say No to BFM's proposal'.

Mr Kowal said the residents called on the leaders of the Bunbury community to step up and work cooperatively with Mr Opferkuch to find an alternative solution to ease traffic congestion.

"We have nothing against the Farmers Market as a business, it's very successful for Bunbury. But we do strongly oppose the proposal which would see heavy vehicles coming through a residential area."

Bunbury residents who would like comment on the proposal can do so via the City of Bunbury website