Thursday, June 18, 2015

Look what I found just around the corner

I went for an amazing and beautiful bushwalk the other day. Even though we are at the start of winter we saw some gorgeous and delicate wildflowers - Calatryix (the pink star flower), Hovias (the purple pea flower), sun dew flowers and more.

 Plus, of course, the robust and unique Mensies Banskias, or Firewood Banksias and this particularly massive Australian Christmas Tree and this awesome Golden Orb Spider. I know the bush is this beautiful but what I didn't know was that this particular bit of bush it was hidden just around the corner from my place. 


The walk was hosted by the lovely Kate Kelly from Save Beeliar Wetlands who is passionate about our local bush and thinks it's rather a mistake to plough a six lane highway through it. Our idyllic one and a half hour walk was the route of the proposed Roe 8 highway, a part of the Perth Freight Link. According to the Rethink the Link mob:

'The Perth Freight Link is a $1.6 billion, 13 km 6-lane heavy vehicle freeway that will divide suburbs and destroy ecologically sensitive land.'

Kate reckons around 96 ha of this kind of bush will be destroyed and will result in keeping about 10% of trucks of our suburban roads. For a while. Until the Fremantle Port reaches its capacity, which it nearly has. The message the Rethink the Link group is putting out is that the freight can go on rail and the Outer Harbour in Kwinana Port, which is planned for, should be built asap. 

Everyone knows that more roads equals more congestion. Roads are not the way of the future. They are from the olden days when we all wanted to hunker down in our individual quarter acre block and drive our gas guzzeling individual death traps of cars around so we didn't have to see, hear or know the existence of our neighbours. We didn't realize the effect this was having on our collective psyche or our health or the health of the planet. We now know cars suck. What we really want is fewer roads so we get to crisis gridlock on the roads then those able bodied among us can get on our bikes, breath clean air, be healthy and connected to community again. That, my friends, is the way of the future. I wrote to Mr Barnett to express my views. Here's my letter:

Dear Mr Barnett,

I'm writing to express my deep concerns about the Perth Freight Link project. The project will not have the effect the government wants, at $1.6 billion it will be expensive and come at the cost of our precious urban wetlands and the connectedness of our community.

This project is poor urban planning and will devastate communities who live beside the the new road. It will slice us in half. Big roads are not conducive to parents walking with prams, kids riding to school or bike riders. No-one wants to live in a city where the only way to get around is by car.

My family enjoy visiting the Beeliar wetlands often on weekends. We ride our bikes around the lake and enjoy spotting swans, snakes and even occasionally long neck turtles. PLEASE don't destroy this. It's a rare and beautiful piece of wilderness right by our back door. The same is true of the corridor of bush that had been set aside for the road. When Roe 8 was planned decades ago I'm sure we didn't know how precious our remnants of bush would be amongst our current landscape of urban sprawl. Don't squander it for the sake of a road, the world does not need more roads, it needs trees and bush. Every remnant is precious.

I am also concerned about the effect of more trucks on the roads and the pollution they will bring us. Research shows that more roads only means more traffic. Thankfully there is a solution which is to rebuild and incentivise the use of rail for cargo to and from the port of Fremantle.

I suspect the government is severely underestimating the community opposition to the Perth Freight Link. People have been working on this campaign for decades and there is no sign their determination is dwindling. Please do not be arrogant. Listen to us. We don't want it. We don't need it. We can't afford it. The last thing this world needs is a new road.

Yours etc

It was satisfying to write.