Member voices frustrations at final ring road meet

Photo: Shutterstock.
Photo: Shutterstock.

EXCLUSIVE

A member of the reference group for the Bunbury Outer Ring Road project has used the final meeting to voice his disappointment and dissatisfaction with how it has been conducted.

The Bunbury Outer Ring Road Central and Northern Community Reference Group was originally established back in August 2018 in a bid to allow residents to inform the design process for the controversial development, which is expected to be the region's largest ever infrastructure project.

However, 18-months later, Community Reference Group members David Rawet said the experience had been a frustrating one - something he shared with the Bunbury Outer Ring Road Team and Main Roads representatives during group's the final meeting on February 17.

Mr Rawet told the Bunbury Mail he was disappointed and that he believed that the objectives of the group had not been met or adequately reviewed.

"I did address that, despite being a reference group, nothing was ever referred to us," he said.

"I also raised concerns about the fact that I believe the objectives established in August 2018 were not addressed or reviewed and the disappointment and distress visited upon us by the process."

It is understood that questions were also asked about the environmental impact of the project and how the community would remain up-to-date after the reference groups were disbanded.

Although relieved to see the end of the 18-month process, Mr Rawet said he had mixed feelings as he believed issues had not yet been resolved and there were still fundamental questions that required answers - including how Main Roads determined the current alignment.

A Main Roads spokesperson said the reference groups had been one of a range of forums for consultation during the planning and development of the BORR and had influenced a number of changes, including the South Western Highway interchange, new north facing ramps and the formation of the Economic Advisory Group.

"Over the last 18 months the BORR team has undertaken a wide ranging consultation program which has included community reference groups in the north and south, local council, economic and freight advisory groups and issues specific meetings with impacted residents," the spokesperson said.

"The Community reference groups have been one of a range of forums for consultation during the planning and development of Bunbury Outer Ring Road.

"The groups have been a valuable mechanism for raising community issues during the development of the concept design for the BORR and have influenced a range of changes, which have included the South Western Highway interchange now being upgraded to a full interchange allowing all traffic movements, new north facing ramps added to the design to reduce freight traffic on Raymond Road west of BORR, the formation of an Economic Advisory Group to capture the business and economic opportunities of the project for Bunbury and the urban and design landscape framework."

It is understood the planning and development phase of the Bunbury Outer Ring Road will be complete by the end of February when the project transitions from the Bunbury Outer Ring Road Integrated Project Team back to Main Roads.

Main Roads told the Bunbury Mail that the environmental assessment, heritage and land acquisition activities would continue throughout 2020 and would involve engagement with stakeholders directly affected.

"The community is always welcome to enquire about the project and Main Roads will also be providing project updates to email subscribers and via the website," the spokesperson said.

Opportunities to provide independent feedback on the project will also be made available through the environmental assessment process, with both state and federal and environmental public comment periods anticipated throughout the year.

A program for communications and stakeholder engagement will also be put in place once a contract is awarded for the construction of Bunbury Outer Ring Road later in 2020.

This story Member voices frustrations at final ring road meet first appeared on Bunbury Mail.