Cowaramup residents want election pledges to improve town centre safety

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
A visitor waits for a safe chance to cross Bussell Highway in Cowaramup.
Camera IconA visitor waits for a safe chance to cross Bussell Highway in Cowaramup. Credit: Lisa Bell

The community group driving for greater public safety in Cowaramup says residents will be watching the major parties closely in the lead-up to next year’s State election.

Cowaramup Community Road Safety Group spokesperson Lisa Bell said her group wanted to know what the major parties were offering to guide members in making their votes count next year.

“Road safety is a major issue that affects our community on a daily basis,” she said.

“However, it also impacts residents from town further south and hundreds of thousands of visitors who pass through our main street en route to other destinations in the shire.

“No one likes to be behind the wheel with people randomly walking or running out in front of their vehicle.”

A shift in electoral boundaries has put the entire Augusta-Margaret River shire into the Warren-Blackwood electorate currently held by first-term Labor MP Jane Kelsbie.

But that change in demographics gives the predominantly green-left voters of the shire some power in determining the future of the seat — and for Cowaramup, that comes down to serious funding pledges.

While the group had won some concessions — the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River is soon to consider the results of a transport study, and pledges in Parliament pointed to relocating the town’s dangerous pedestrian crossing — the resident activists were sceptical.

While some residents suggested it was time to consider a ring road for Cowaramup, the safety group wanted multiple crossings, an underpass for pedestrians, and a master plan for intersections and paths.

With the election still some time away, Ms Kelsbie declined to make any specific commitment.

“I’ve listened to the community, I’ve advocated for road safety measures, and we’ve had a positive response from the minister for transport,” she said.

“The State Government stands ready to deliver a painted median strip through Cowaramup while consultation takes place on longer-term solutions.”

Vasse MLA Libby Mettam said although Cowaramup was no longer in her electorate, she had fought hard for upgrades, and believed a traffic solution should not hinge on Labor winning votes.

“The WA Liberals are working on policy and commitments across a range of portfolios, and these will be released over the coming months,” she said.

“In the interim, I would encourage the member for Warren-Blackwood to lean on her ministerial colleagues, and work with Main Roads and the local council to get a resolution.

“There is no reason for a bipartisan safety upgrade to be delayed to serve as an election commitment.”

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