City of Bayswater keen to avoid repeat of wetlands issue

Carter's Wetlands development.
Carter's Wetlands development.

THE City of Bayswater will look at other privately owned wetlands or ecologically sensitive areas in the City, in order to avoid a situation similar to the recent green-lit subdivision at Carter’s wetland.

Bulldozers began works – which have since been halted – in July, after the WA Planning Commission (WAPC) approved the proposal despite a Bayswater Council refusal recommendation.

A petition tabled in parliament last month has called on the Minister for Planning to grant a planning control area for the wetlands next to the Eric Singleton Bird Sanctuary.

Councillor Dan Bull said many residents did not realise Carter’s swamp was privately owned and not part of the Eric Singleton Bird Sanctuary.

“I think it’s important, as a consequence of this, to understand whether there are other parcels of ecologically important or ecologically sensitive privately-owned land in the City of Bayswater,” he said.

“The fact that this land (Carter’s) was zoned in a way that allows for a residential subdivision means that the horse had bolted to an extent.

“You can’t work out to avoid the situation we’ve got ourselves in now, how to avoid that in the future, if we don’t have that first bit of information.”

Cr Bull said the report into the sites, to be carried out by City staff by the end of the financial year, might reveal there were no more parcels that were privately owned.

According to a City officer, wetlands were classified under criteria set by the Department of Environmental Regulation and there might be some areas the community considers to be wetlands but have not been classified.

Research into the sensitive areas could include examining environment databases and aerial photography, site visits and nominations from the community.

The officer stated the City had already committed to a number of large projects, including Northlink, Forrestfield Airport Link and a Galleria redevelopment and this survey could impact on existing services and projects.

Wetland management categories at the Swan Coastal plain include conservation, rehabilitation potential and multiple use.

Last month, Council moved to try to buy the Carter’s wetland portion of the subdivision.