25/03/2009 - 22:00

Fears over High St upgrade

25/03/2009 - 22:00

Bookmark

Save articles for future reference.

FRANCHISE owner Steve Waddingham fears he could lose his Muzz Buzz drive-through coffee shop on High Street in East Fremantle after plans to extend the road would require the state government to acquire the small business.

FRANCHISE owner Steve Waddingham fears he could lose his Muzz Buzz drive-through coffee shop on High Street in East Fremantle after plans to extend the road would require the state government to acquire the small business.

The Barnett government wants to widen High Street, between Stirling Highway and Carrington Street, to six lanes to improve traffic management through the major east-west transport route to the Fremantle inner harbour.

The move has led to accusations that the state government is attempting to build the controversial Fremantle Eastern Bypass by stealth and push through with stage eight of Roe Highway.

The Department for Planning and Infrastructure vehemently denies this.

In 2005, the Local Impacts Committee recommended upgrading the 1.5 kilometre stretch of High Street to improve safety and DPI started planning a study to find a preferred option in November 2007.

That moved followed a Carpenter government decision to scrap plans for the FEB and Roe 8 and land reserved was eventually sold off and is currently being redeveloped.

If the High Street upgrade gains approval, several businesses, including Muzz Buzz, a large portion of the public and private golf course and at least 20 properties would be acquired and demolished by the government.

Mr Waddingham has more than 13 years left on his 15-year lease at the Muzz Buzz site, which serves about 1,500 customers each day.

After an initial investment of about $350,000 for the franchise and with projected profits calculated over the next 13 years, the small business owner said he would seek $2.8 million compensation if the upgrade was approved.

"Obviously we'd like to continue on with the business, finish our lease and look to increase the amount of time we're there. But for me, I'm handcuffed to it now," he said.

"I can't sell the business because no-one would buy it because it's got a possible resumption or whatever pending on the land and business, so I would except to be fairly and adequately compensated if I have it taken away. It's a hell of a lot of money."

A DPI spokesperson said the proposed upgrade would alleviate traffic congestion on the four-lane undivided road with uncontrolled driveway access to a number of residential properties.

"A decision on the final preferred option for the upgrade to High Street will be made in consultation with the community and all relevant stakeholders," the spokesperson said.

"In the event a business site is formally resumed [by the government], the business owner, their heirs or assignees under the lease would be entitled to claim compensation under the Land Administration Act for the taking or part-taking of their remaining interest."

The City of Fremantle has opposed any change to High Street, with Mayor Peter Tagliaferri accusing the Barnett government of trying to build the FEB by stealth.

Mr Tagliaferri said the state government was conflicted about its plans for Fremantle port.

"Firstly, the container trade at the port has dropped and this year it is down some 15 per cent, you've got the current government, which has set up a taskforce to look at the future of the port in Fremantle, and so whether it stays, whether it grows, whether it goes, no-one knows," he said.

"So why would you do this massive disconnect of a road into a port that may not be there?

"Obviously any house or business lost is of serious concern and the port can still grow but not to the level that this government would want it to grow because it will be absolute mayhem.

"But this current government is in conflict because they don't know if they want to keep the port there, they don't know if they still want it to grow, they don't know what they want to do."

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

Subscription Options