For the second time, the Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale has voted against Oakford becoming the home of Westport’s new landside logistics hub.
Westport is currently in the advanced planning process of relocating its main shipping container terminal from Fremantle to Kwinana.
Part of the move involves working out how containers will be transported to and from the new Kwinana port.
“Designing a terminal with an efficient and dedicated rail connection is critical to minimising congestion and the dwell time of containers at the port,” Westport has said in its Opportunities Study.
“Supply chain resilience requires multi-modal share (rail and road), multiple corridors and staging facilities.”
In October last year, the state government released three shortlisted options for locating Westport’s Intermodal Transport and empty container site: Forrestfield/Kewdale, Mundijong, and Oakford.
Of these three options, Oakford is the only one highlighted as a potential base for Westport’s Major Logistics Hub, with bee-line access to the Kwinana port terminal via Anketell and Thomas Rds.
At its July 17 meeting, council voted to advise the Minister for Transport that it did not support Oakford becoming a major logistics hub for Westport “given its undermining of the shire’s Local Planning Framework and significantly its impact on the West Mundijong Industrial Area”.
That vote passed with a majority of 4:1, with Crs Mack, Dagostino and Byas absent from the meeting, and Cr Atwell abstaining from voting due to a declared financial interest.
In reply, Cr Dagostino brought a motion to the August 21 council meeting to throw away the decision to exclude Oakford from consideration
In defence of his motion, Cr Dagostino said he believes council needs to be more fully informed about the Westport Logistics Hub before revealing a “definitive position” to the Minister for Transport.
“There are a number of concerns which all relate to us as councillors not being fully and properly briefed and informed,” he said, continuing that it was imperative that council “really understand the implications and the consequences and the strategic importance of either of these two sites for our shire.”
He said there are a number of questions in his mind that need answers.
“Will this proposed logistics area even fit in West Mundijong? … “How big exactly is this logistics area? … How will it affect existing businesses in West Mundijong? … If Oakford is the preferred site, could it assist the West Mundijong Industrial Area? … And where exactly in Oakford is it proposed?”
His motion proposed an urgent briefing from Westport should council vote to revoke its July 17 decision.
Cr Coales echoed the sentiments of his colleague saying he felt it was important to have all options on the table so as not to “put all our eggs in one basket”.
Cr Strange was the author of the original motion to urge the state government to exclude Oakford from consideration.
She said it was imperative that council uphold that decision for three reasons: to not call into question the integrity of council’s decision-making; for matters of expediency in relation to the advancement of Westport’s planning process; and because it was important for the council to “advocate strongly” for the advancement of the West Mundijong Industrial Area.
“The Westport CEO who gave the briefing to us himself admitted that choosing Oakford could jeopardise the demand for industrial development at West Mundijong, which is a far superior location due to its connections to essential road and rail,” she said.
She said that Westport hasn’t recently been very forthcoming with information or community engagement and that she believed the project was moving dangerously close to the selection of a preferred location.
“Based on a schedule produced for a tender last year they are at least nearing stage four … Phase four is their optimisation of a preferred option,” she said.
“It’s imperative for us to express our reservations about Oakford becoming a primary logistics hub even if this option doesn’t currently form one of their preferred options.
“Failing to make our objections to the Oakford Major Logistics Hub known is a disservice to our community.
“If this option is progressed it will essentially see many Oakford households hemmed in between two industrial zones, significantly detracting from the area’s existing amenity and quality of life offered.”
She said that decisions made now had the potential to impact the shire for generations to come.
When the vote was cast, it was a dead tie at four all.
But because an absolute majority is required to revoke a previous resolution, the motion was ultimately lost. The shire will continue to advocate for the West Mundijong option and against the Oakford one.