Is there a logical alternative to the Perth Freight Link?
August 17, 2015 14 Comments
As the debate around Perth Freight Link (PFL) heats up the Fremantle Councillors and I legitimately get asked: what are the alternatives to WA’s most expensive road project running through Fremantle?
Interestingly there is an emerging but clear consensus across communities from Fremantle to Rockingham and from groups like Property Council and the Kwinana Industry Council that the PFL should be abandoned and the Outer Harbour built ASAP instead.
Below I have attempted to expand on this logical alternative and would love your feedback:
- The future metropolitan freight task should be approached by implementing a cap-and-transition away from the current Inner Harbour of Fremantle port as soon as possible, starting with removal of break bulk, steel and cars from Victoria Quay, and moving to the development of container freight capacity at the Outer Harbour within 7-10 years.
- Retaining Fremantle inner harbour long term on North Quay only but with a lower capacity than its peak.
- High priority should be given to lower-cost upgrades to Stirling Hwy and High St (such as double turn right lane and left-in, left-out only of side streets) to improve safety, traffic efficiency and amenity of local residents (estimated cost $50 to $70 million).
- Planning and infrastructure investment must be concentrated on the proper development of the Outer Harbour, Latitude 32, and appropriate road and rail connections, including other intermodal facilities, an extension/upgrade to Tonkin Hwy, and improving freight management practices.
- Fast-track development of the Outer Harbour will shift the growth in truck freight off Stirling, Leach, and Canning Highways to a dedicated route away from residential areas.
- This means the expensive and environmentally damaging Roe 8 project may not be required.
- South Quay land (from D Shed to Traffic Bridge) will be made available through the removal of low-value uses like the unloading of new cars, creating the potential for valuable waterfront redevelopment. This will also reconnect Fremantle to the waterfront by enabling better access to the harbour from the Fremantle city centre.
- Investment in the Outer Harbour will be of major economic benefit to south-west corridor, enabling the economies of Cockburn, Kwinana, Rockingham, Armadale and Serpentine/Jarrahdale to diversify and develop, bringing new jobs and investment.
This last point was taken up by the Property Council in their recent report Keep WA Growing where they say that the Western Trade Coast development is one of the three key investments needed for the state and will enable $13.7 billion of economic activity over 20 years and would support 6,500 per annum jobs at 2025 and 20,800 jobs per annum at full build out in 2040.
The primary downside will be the environmental impacts on Cockburn Sound of the Outer Harbour. But (and this is an important but) every indication is that the Outer Harbour will have to be built in the few decades regardless of the PFL so it seems to me it is better to bite the bullet on this now rather than seriously damage two fragile environments.
I look forward to your thoughts.
For the Property Council report see the link below and here are some graphics from it