Liberal Party branch backs eastern link alternatives

Taelor PeluseyBusselton Dunsborough Times
John Valentine, Chris Boulton, Graeme Dadson, Paul Vines and Nicholas Vines are just a handful of Busselton’s Liberals. The branch supports alternatives to the eastern link. Pictured is one of their preferred options.
Camera IconJohn Valentine, Chris Boulton, Graeme Dadson, Paul Vines and Nicholas Vines are just a handful of Busselton’s Liberals. The branch supports alternatives to the eastern link. Pictured is one of their preferred options. Credit: Taelor Pelusey Busselton-Dunsborough Times

Busselton’s Liberal Party branch has united against plans for the so-called “eastern link”, disputing costings, backing two alternative solutions and rallying support with a petition.

The link forms part of the Busselton Traffic Study and will connect the stretch of Causeway Road between Strelly Street and Rosemary Drive to the portion of Peel Terrace between Stanley Place and Camilleri Street with a bridge over the Vasse River.

The branch — estimated to have more than 100 members — put forward a motion at its most recent meeting, solidifying members’ views and initiating the petition to be presented to the council.

Branch member Paul Vines told the Times members and “practically everyone” they spoke with were against the link, believing it to be a poorly thought out, short-term solution that would do little to help anyone east of the CBD.

“You’re still going to get that bottleneck at Rosemary Drive ... and the eastern link still won’t address the problem at Vasse and Bussell Highway,” he said.

“We feel it’s a fait accompli to try and do the eastern link when there are other obvious options.”

The two alternative solutions were previously investigated yet set aside by the City of Busselton, but remain the frontrunners for the branch.

The first suggestion is an alignment with Vasse Highway, creating a roundabout at the intersection with Bussell Highway, while Vasse Highway would continue north approaching the Vasse-Wonnerup Estuary before swinging to the west to pick up Ford Road.

The second suggestion is the original Ford Road easement, which could potentially be accessed by an overpass ramp east of the main roundabout, with entry and exit points via Korden Place.

Several variations of Ford Road’s extension have been presented since the 1980s, but have twice been knocked back by the Environmental Protection Authority because of the proximity to the internationally recognised RAMSAR-listed wetlands.

The branch acknowledged the environmental hurdles, but member Graeme Dadson said “done right”, it could make for a beautiful entry point to Busselton.

Busselton City Mayor Grant Henley previously told the Times cost, funding, environmental approvals and modelling favoured the eastern link, but all options, including Ford Road, were being assessed for the long term.

The City estimates the link would cost about $3.8 million and Ford Road about $20 million, but branch member and former Busselton City councillor John Valentine questioned the figures.

“It all depends on how they work these costs out,” he said.

“What are they factoring in? We don’t know.”

The Times attempted to obtain a cost breakdown for the components of each project, but was instead told “final cost breakdowns will not be finalised until the City goes to tender on this project”.

“The (eastern link) project estimate is $3.8 million, excluding relocation of services, landscaping, drainage and potential land resumption costs,” Cr Henley said.

“Cost estimates to date are based on industry rates.”

The City will host an information Tuesday, December 5 at the Kaloorup Room at the Civic and Administration Centre from 5.30pm.

The design, environmental considerations and funding model for the project along with a digital animation will be shared.

Email wendy.mekisic@busselton.wa.gov.au or call 9781 0420 to RSVP.

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