A rally next week against the proposed outer harbour at Cockburn Sound is expecting to attract approximately 6,000 people.
“We need to have a show of force so the government sees that it’s not actually just on paper, it’s not just internet warriors, we actually have people on the ground that are concerned about it,”
Tim Barlow, Co-convenor of the Fish Army, said the community supports has been fantastic, and is getting bigger and bigger as the event nears.
The critical threat Cockburn Sound is under from the proposed outer harbour comes particularly from the dredging and land reclamation, effectively putting a grave risk on Western Australia’s snapper stocks.
Cockburn Sound is a critical spawning spot in the West Coast by-region, with local snapper going as far north as Geraldton, and almost as south as Albany.
The City of Melville, and City of Cockburn both withdrew their support for the outer harbour, and have joined the fight against developments in the Sound. Last week, the City of Fremantle voted unanimously to keep Fremantle as a working port and to support keeping the Sound as is.
Mr Barlow is part of the West Port Task Force, and was invited on as an environmental spokesperson for the recreation fishing community, spreading awareness and ideas about what the best option is for the state.
“When you look at Cockburn sound the Environmental Protection Agency actually have 16 environmental red flags for the Sound itself,”
“Back in 2006 they rejected all four proposals for the outer harbour, based on the fact that the accumulative environmental impact was too great, and we could end up with a very dead and sterile body of water…” he explained.
A number of hardcore environmentalists have also pledged their support, comparing the fight to save the snapper as fighting to save any other animals’ habitat.
What outcome are you hoping for from the rally?
“We want the Government to step back…”
“They need to realise that this is not a tenable position and that they public is turning against them…”
“There’s thousands upon thousands of people that are affected by this decision,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Westport Chair Nicole Lockwood has welcomed articles relating to the Westport project by WAMN, and encourages interested parties to contact the Westport Taskforce for the latest information.
“The Westport Taskforce was formed in September 2017 with the job of formulating an integrated strategy to meet the freight transport and trade logistics needs for Perth and the South-West over the next 50 to 100 years,” Ms Lockwood said.
“We are tasked with producing a final Strategy by late 2019 that will optimise existing land and infrastructure to encourage industry and trade expansion while also protecting and if possible, enhancing the environmental and social values.
“We have three areas of interest: Fremantle, Kwinana and Bunbury. As we collect data and other evidence about the constraints and opportunities in each location, we encourage interested groups and individuals to contact us directly about our findings so far and have input into the Strategy.
“In late October we will release our third report, What We Have Found So Far, which will provide a holistic view of current findings and provide hypotheses of port options and criteria to rank them, on which we will invite community comment.