Don’t burn your bridges

Jackson Lavell-LeeAugusta Margaret River Times
The Tuart Drive Bridge goes up in smoke.
Camera IconThe Tuart Drive Bridge goes up in smoke. Credit: Busselton-Dunsborough Times

Speculation that a car fire under the Tuart Drive bridge in Wonnerup was to restrict visitor access to Busselton reflects concern for locals’ safety.

The COVID-19 crisis continues to incite fear among the Capes community as debate rages on whether holiday homeowners should be allowed to travel to the South West.

The fire was reported at 4.56pm on Wednesday with appliances from the Busselton, Vasse and Augusta Margaret River bushfire brigades able to control the blaze by 6.56pm.

The car was destroyed and the bridge was extensively damaged, resulting in road closures.

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Busselton police said detectives were in early stages of investigating and no charges had been laid.

“This is similar to an act of terrorism,” Mayor Grant Henley said.

“If this is a protest, people should really consider the full implications. It could be this person’s mother who needs an ambulance to Bunbury that can’t get there because the bridge is out of commission.

“People are either transferred to Perth or Bunbury for acute medical care and now more than ever, we need to make sure those routes of travel and communication are open.

“As much as we want to stop people unnecessarily travelling to our region, this is crazy.” The bridge is on the west side of Sabina River on Tuart Drive, an alternative route to Busselton.

Capes community leaders have joined residents and the State Government to implore visitors to avoid unnecessary travel during the COVID-19 crisis.

Dunsborough resident Luke Pearce questioned holiday goers who were self-isolating at tourist accommodation and the strain that would put on limited resources.

Vasse MLA Libby Mettam said the health minister and the Premier had responded to an urgent request and were advising cancellation of travel.

“Our community of the South West need reassurance on what restrictions will be put in place and how this will effectively be achieved,” she said.

“While we cannot tell people they can’t come stay in their holiday home, it’s just a plea to not put unnecessary pressure on the region’s limited resources.”

From Saturday-Wednesday hundreds of caravans and vehicles were seen travelling down Bussell Highway with major providers Four Seasons Holiday Park and Caves Caravan Park cancelling over 300 bookings each.

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