16/04/2008 - 22:00

Threat looms to Bunbury Port plans

16/04/2008 - 22:00

Bookmark

Save articles for future reference.

Construction magnate Len Buckeridge has vowed to fight the state government over control of a vital piece of land needed for an access road as part of Bunbury Port’s major restructure plans.

Threat looms to Bunbury Port plans

Construction magnate Len Buckeridge has vowed to fight the state government over control of a vital piece of land needed for an access road as part of Bunbury Port’s major restructure plans.

Referring to the state’s actions as theft, Mr Buckeridge plans to mount a legal challenge that could stall the port expansion.

The BGC boss said he would not relinquish part of a 22-hectare tract of land he owns, which stands in the way of a proposed port access road that is critical to Bunbury’s future infrastructure plans.

Planning Minister Alannah MacTiernan quashed Mr Buckeridge’s official objection to his land being resumed.

It is expected the minister will also dismiss an objection by local abattoir owner DBC to the loss of its land.

Mr Buckeridge said he would now be forced to take his case to the WA Supreme Court.

“It’s fraud, it’s an attempt to steal private property,” he told WA Business News.

Mr Buckeridge said he purchased the land in 1999 after the port authority put it out for tender.

His subsequent plan to develop a one-stop housing centre was rejected by Bunbury Council and the land rezoned to rural.

He said after Bunbury Port announced their expansion plans he had offered to take part in a land swap deal, but negotiations had been fruitless.

Mr Buckeridge has locked horns with the state on a number of key infrastructure issues, including a brickworks and private port at Kwinana.

“This has got to come to a head. The powers of a government do not extend to having a vendetta against a private individual, and stealing his assets,” Mr Buckeridge said.

The construction magnate believed he had ample evidence to mount a legal case and planned to seek an injunction to stop work commencing on the access road.

Even if the minister’s dismissal of Mr Buckeridge’s objection holds up, the government can expect further complications as the long-term expansion of the Port to add nine more berths proceeds.

The expansion involves significantly redirecting the Preston River in such a way that it would cut a large swathe through Mr Buckeridge’s land.

The port access road will be the major heavy vehicle link to the long-awaited outer ring road, which will take trucks off Bunbury roads.

Construction of stage one of the port access road is scheduled to start in January next year.

Bunbury Mayor David Smith said any hold up on completing the outer ring road could be disastrous.

“There is a critical time factor in this because Estuary Drive will be closed because of the port expansion,” he said.

“When that happens, by 2013 or not long after, every person in the greater Bunbury region will have no option of getting into and out of Bunbury other than the Eelup roundabout, which is the number one black spot in WA and I think the second in Australia.”

Mr Smith favours a proposal by Main Roads to replace Eelup roundabout with an overpass, despite admitting its visual impact would be “complicated”. 

Main Roads regional manager Brett Belstead said an overpass would be required in addition to the outer ring road due to the “sheer volume of traffic coming into Bunbury” in future years.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

Subscription Options