OPINION: Gubinge Road traffic assessment the right move for Main Roads to address community, industry concerns

Sam JonesBroome Advertiser
No More Trucks protesters at their meeting on March 22.
Camera IconNo More Trucks protesters at their meeting on March 22. Credit: Supplied

The recent proposal by Kimberley Mineral Sands to transport freight into the Broome Port using quad road trains along Gubinge Road and Port Drive has sparked controversy among some Broome residents, leading to the formation of the protest group No More Trucks.

Core to the group’s concerns is the use of 60m-long four-trailer trucks, and how this could impact the environment and liveability in the area.

Their protests have drawn the ire of many in the Broome community, who have taken to social media to criticise the group — often not in the most flattering or constructive ways.

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And while I may not agree with the group’s position, their right to voice their concerns is essential to a functional community.

As someone whose property is located near Gubinge Road, I can empathise with the concerns of the No More Trucks group regarding noise and other pollution.

However, it is important to recognise that I chose to build my house near a heavy-traffic road, and that comes with certain inherent risks and inconveniences.

As one (of the more polite) Broome Advertiser readers posted on Facebook — it would be like moving next to an airport and then complaining about flight paths.

Yes, I know, this example is pretty timely given there is a group doing this very thing with Broome Airport — but I’ll save that for another op-ed.

This week we report on Main Roads’ decision to grant KMS in-principle support for the use of the road trains in question.

The support is contingent on the company completing a traffic impact assessment.

This is a reasonable compromise, which will take into account the concerns of both parties.

The assessment will address issues related to traffic safety and management, as well as the impact on the local community, and will be undertaken in consultation with the Shire of Broome.

Additionally, the audit will be conducted before the end of the financial year, allowing for a prompt resolution.

It is important to recognise the significance of the mining industry in the Kimberley and the potential economic benefits that KMS could bring to the region.

It is also important to remember why the Port Drive was built — for haulage through Broome Port.

However, it is equally important to acknowledge the concerns of the No More Trucks group and the potential impact of increased heavy vehicle traffic on the local community.

The debate over KMS’ proposal to use quad road trains on Gubinge Road highlights the need for a balanced and informed discussion between the mining industry and local communities.

While it is important to recognise the economic benefits that the mining industry can bring, it is equally important to address the concerns of the local community and ensure that any proposed developments are sustainable and safe.

The traffic impact assessment provides an opportunity for both parties to work together to find a solution that benefits everyone.

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