On April 5 members of SASTR met with representatives of the Main Roads Department (MRWA) at the junction of Sandplain and Salt Valley Roads where major work costing in excess of $50 million will start later this year.
Expenditure of this kind means a lot of vegetation clearing! We came with a list of questions which we subsequently submitted in writing and we also wanted to know the fate of several Powderbark Wandoo and Wandoo trees likely to be in excess of 300 years old.
The discussion was civil and the outcomes were useful. It seems most of the very old trees will not be in the clearing zone. Furthermore, it was confirmed that the width of the clearing zone will now be reduced to 60m at the widest point. This is down from the original of 90m and reflects the reduction in the cutting from 12m to 6m. So quite a reduction and a “victory” of sorts for SASTR and our supporters!
We also learnt that they will not use stone retaining walls – a lack of stone was quoted as the reason which is a little hard to understand given the area – and so shallow sloping embankments or batters will continue to be the mode of construction with consequent increased clearing. While we accept the use of stone is more expensive we still believe that such costs are justified when trying to limit vegetation clearing including old-growth trees.
Responses to our questions
The full responses to our questions from MRWA can be seen here: