BAYSWATER residents were “shocked and outraged” when bulldozers began destroying wetlands connected to the Eric Singleton Bird Sanctuary last week.
In February, the City of Bayswater recommended the WA Planning Commission (WAPC) refuse a proposed 27-lot subdivision at “Skipper’s Row” – lots 6-10 and 14 Leake Street, 128 and 130 King William Street, Bayswater.
Reasons for refusal included the subdivision would “unduly” impact the fauna and flora, that it would not provide a sufficient barrier to the $3 million sanctuary and did not include a 10 per cent public open space contribution.
However, the WAPC conditionally approved the subdivision and did not notify the City of the works that began last week as they were considered “preliminary”.
The land is privately owned but Environment House co-ordinator Rachael Roberts said the wetland was seen as part of the community landscape.
“The land has been under private ownership for decades, so for many years we’ve been trying to get the council to buy it,” she said.
“Volunteers have been planting in there thinking it might one day be gifted.
“In this day and age most people would be very surprised to learn that a wetlands could be bulldozed at all and without any notice or consultation.
“When there’s so much work going into restoring wetlands across the Swan Coastal Plain, then surely the developer, the council and the WAPC could have come up with a better plan.”
Ms Roberts said paperbark trees on the edge of the wetlands were being destroyed and the area contained endangered species.
“There was a bystander who picked up a baby tortoise Tuesday morning that was about to be run over by a bulldozer. An enormous amount of planning went into protecting fauna at Eric Singleton… none of that occurred in these wetlands,” she said.
Councillor Dan Bull, who held an emergency meeting along with fellow councillors, City staff and Maylands MLA Lisa Baker, said he was not aware the bulldozers would begin works last week.
“I wasn’t aware any works were occurring, let alone that WAPC had approved conditionally the subdivision application,” he said.
Residents have written to Planning Minister Donna Faragher. It is understood the developer has since called an environmental consultant.
Owners Tommaso, Rocco, Jessica and Greg D’Orazio with Robert Carte and applicants CLE Planning put forward the application for the 11,573sq m subdivision. The WAPC did not respond to requests for comment by deadline.