BAYSWATER residents will hold an emergency meeting this afternoon after bulldozers began destroying wetlands connected to the Eric Singleton Bird Sanctuary on Tuesday.
In February, council recommended refusal to the WA Planning Commission (WAPC) of a proposed 27-lot subdivision at “Skipper’s Rows”.
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, in June the WAPC conditionally approved the subdivision and did not inform council.
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,” she said.
“An enormous amount of planning went into protecting fauna at Eric Singleton… none of that occurred in these wetlands.”
Councillor Dan Bull said an impromptu meeting for residents had been called to give concerned residents an opportunity to ask questions.
“I wasn’t aware that the bulldozers were going in, I wasn’t aware any works were occurring, let alone that WAPC had approved conditionally the subdivision application,” he said.
Owners Tommaso, Rocco, Jessive and Greg D’Orazio with Robert Carte and applicants CLE Planning put forward the application for the 11,573sq m subdivision.
A public meeting will be held Friday, July 15 at 4pm in the Eric Singleton car park.
Questions have been sent to the WAPC.