Minister firm on BORR plan

Headshot of Nicolette Barbas
Nicolette BarbasSouth Western Times
Capel Shire president Michael Southwell, 'Ringo' the ringtail possum and a number of Gelorup residents are upset by the Bunbury Outer Ring Road plans.
Camera IconCapel Shire president Michael Southwell, 'Ringo' the ringtail possum and a number of Gelorup residents are upset by the Bunbury Outer Ring Road plans. Credit: Shannon Verhagen

Transport Minister Rita Saffioti is adamant she will not be visiting the southern site of the Bunbury Outer Ring Road following calls from Capel shire president Michael Southwell.

In response to Cr Southwell’s comments in the South Western Times last week, Ms Saffioti has hit back at the shire president.

“Since the South Western Times advertisement and article featuring Cr Southwell’s views on BORR, I’ve received a lot of feedback from the wider Shire of Capel community,” Ms Saffioti said.

She said many residents believed Cr Southwell had made it clear he misrepresented the views of the wider community by demanding the proposed BORR alignment be changed.

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“I am focused on delivering a project that delivers good outcomes for the entire South West community and the preferred alignment offers the best long-term solution for the growing Greater Bunbury region.

“The fact is, Cr Southwell’s proposed alternative will simply shift traffic onto Bussell Highway and affect landowners along that corridor.

“The preferred alignment is following due process – as has the design of the wider BORR project.

“The final design put forward for environmental approval has been subject to scrutiny and changes from representatives on the community reference groups for the project over a number of years.”

Cr Southwell responded to Ms Saffioti by saying it was impossible to gather the views of everyone in the shire on every issue.

“This issue has been running for a long time and the residents affected and the wider community started out with a very respectful approach to the matter,” Mr Southwell said.

“When each issue arises, it is impossible without a referendum to canvas the views of the whole community.”

Ms Saffioti said that while Main Roads was working with affected landowners along the BORR alignment, she refused to be “threatened” by the shire president.

“I am not going to be threatened by Mr Southwell’s aggressive tactics, nor will I be used as a collateral piece in his ... brand of local politics,” Ms Saffioti said.

However, Cr Southwell believes he is only lobbying and has and will try every avenue possible to get the issue sorted out.

“We are merely being forthright, I personally have taken the position on behalf of the people affected to speak to the Federal Minister, Main Roads, local members Don Punch, Mick Murray, Nola Marino and others,” he said.

“I haven’t singled anyone out, I will speak to anyone that will help and will keep lobbying.”

“I reject that characterisation and once again call on the Minister to come and speak with us and see how reasonable we are.”

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