WHILE both major parties have pondered getting rid of the accident-prone Bayswater underpass, independent candidate Greg Smith reckons it’s part of the cultural fabric of the town centre and a “trucking calming device”.
Along with wanting to scrap the WA Planning Commission because it favours big developers over locals and steamrolls councils, he says if the underpass goes the Baysy town centre will turn into a freight highway.
The underpass has a pretty low-tech method of preventing that: with surprising frequency trucks get stuck under the bridge because drivers don’t realise their vehicles are too tall to go under. Even drivers from Western Power and some Liberal party campaigners have been wedged under there.
“I don’t want bloody Coode Street and King William Street to be a truck route, and if you got rid of that trucking calming device then it would be,” Mr Smith said.
Installing a couple of dangling chains before the bridge would give drivers an audible warning that they’re about to be scalped, he says.
“That may be a little bit cheaper than putting the station underground. Just marginally.”
If Labor won federal government last year they’d pledged to spend a million bucks investigating sinking the station.
Mr Smith was initially running for the Julie Mathieson for WA party in Mt Lawley but at the 11th hour put his name down for Maylands, the electorate where he lives. He reckons Mt Lawley’s a lost cause for the Libs so he’d rather get stuck into Labor in his home patch.
“I believe Simon Millman (Labor) is going to win Mt Lawley at a canter so given that Labor’s going to be in power I’m wanting to push them to adopt better policies.”
A town planning lecturer, he says he’d rather lobby Labor to fix up its planning policy, starting by scrapping the WAPC and handing power back to local councils.
He says with development assessment panels approving big projects and the WAPC having control over the big structure plans and zoning changes, at planning meetings these days “local government’s decision making power is relegated to choosing what kind of sandwiches are served at meetings: curried egg, cucumber or ham”.
by DAVID BELL