Five community members made appeals to City of Busselton councillors to abandon the Eastern Link development, at a public access session last Wednesday.
Former mayor Ian Stubbs asked councillors to reflect on the Roe 8 whereby the state government listened to the community and stopped the project.
“That is the sort of leadership we are seeking from you,” he said.
At the meeting, Mr Stubbs said that the Vasse River and its foreshore were one of the most important assets in the community which should be preserved and protected from development.
“They are areas you simply do not touch, no matter what.”
Now he was horrified that land he helped the city secure when he sat on council may be used for a road.
”What really angers me about the Eastern Link is the fact there are other options available that could be tackled today without the environmental vandalism.”
Mr Stubbs hoped the city would look at alternative short term solutions such as erecting more signage along to educate drivers about alternative routes with Ford Road being constructed in the long term.
”I will leave you with a reminder of the words of Winston Churchill, if you cannot change your mind, you will never change anything.
“I believe if you change your mind you will gain a lot of respect from the community."
Former FAWNA president Jeff Falcolner told councillors his primary concern about the Eastern Link was the loss of the western ringtail possums habitat which would ultimately result in their deaths.
Mr Falcolner said in another five to 10 years the critically endangered animals would be extinct and the Eastern Link was another example of their destruction in Busselton.
“There are only 4000 left we cannot afford to lose them,” he said.
“Every time trees are removed it is adding extra to that ultimate loss. We have not lost it all here yet, though we have lost a lot.
“We need to keep healthy trees – a highway for possums.”
Port Geographe Land Owners' Association chairperson Kevin Strapp said the Eastern Link was not a long term fix and would cause more environmental problems than Ford Road.
Mr Strapp said using alternative route signs into Busselton worked and could be improved with another sign at the corner of Layman and Ford Roads to direct traffic to the tourist places near the foreshore.
City of Busselton mayor Grant Henley said most of the options presented by community members were already being considered.
Mr Henley said however, as standalone measures without the creation of an additional access point into the town centre, these options would only serve to increase congestion at existing choke points and do nothing to relieve congestion in the short to medium term.
“In fact, advanced traffic modelling demonstrates quite clearly that these measures undertaken in isolation would compound existing congestion significantly,” he said.
Mr Henley said the city was investigating options to replant and relocate as many of the mature peppermint trees as possible.
He said after more detailed planning of the Eastern Link was completed it was evident that fewer trees would be removed than originally indicated.
“There are seven mature trees earmarked for removal as part of this development.”
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