The Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) WA Chapter is the latest organisation to blast the Barnett Government for rushing through the development of the $1.5 billion Perth Freight Link (PFL) at the expense of the community.

Expressing concerns about the lack of detailed planning around the proposal, which does not adequately explore the possibility of rail freight transport, the AILA has released a statement saying the large six lane highway is “contrary and detrimental to the existing built and natural landscape values” of Fremantle.

The 13.4km PFL is a new freight route that will connect Perth’s port of Fremantle to Kewdale Industrial Area in a more direct and efficient way for trucks, by upgrading several roads to become a controlled access four lane dual carriageway highway. It will start with the Roe 8 project extending Roe Highway through to Stock Road.

However the project has received much criticism for its potential environmental impacts, particularly as the highway is proposed to go through or over the Beelair wetlands, one of the last wetland chains on the Swan coastal plain.

“There continue to be valid concerns over; water, air, noise and light pollution, the loss of habitat and the impact on protected species populations, ecological fragmentation, weed invasion, impact on shading and the effectiveness of fauna underpasses,” says Sara Kjaersgaard, AILA WA President.

“The Institute recommends that further assessment of these values and their protection is taken in consideration in all future planning of the PFL.”

Kjaersgaard also highlights that the Beeliar Regional Park holds significant historical and environmental values to the local Aboriginal community.

“It is the Institute’s opinion that these values will be greatly affected and not adequately catered for if this proposal goes ahead.”

Kjaersgaard adds that there will be a number of adverse residual visual impacts from key viewpoints at night and during the day due to a number of noise barriers and road bridges if the project moves forward.

She instead recommends a proposal by The City of Fremantle, which maintains the four lane road reserve, has a designated bicycle corridor, a tighter 150m curve radius and a posted speed of 50km per hour.

“This more modest option is supported by the Institute as it balances the road users’ needs with local community, ecological and heritage values.”

A full position paper on the Perth Freight Link can be accessed here.