Residents weed out need for chemicals

Friends of Success Hill Reserve spokeswoman Jane Bremmer with local resident and National Toxics Network chemical advisor Lee Bell (left) and local health practitioner Jacquie Kelly and fellow protestors. Picture: Marcus Whisson d405432
Friends of Success Hill Reserve spokeswoman Jane Bremmer with local resident and National Toxics Network chemical advisor Lee Bell (left) and local health practitioner Jacquie Kelly and fellow protestors. Picture: Marcus Whisson d405432

Protesting the use of pesticides, Friends of Success Hill Reserve member Jane Bremmer organised a community hand weeding campaign to remove the infiltration of veldt grass weeds without any chemicals.

Ms Bremmer, who lives in Bassendean, said she was tired of the town using chemicals at the registered Aboriginal heritage site despite opposition from the community members and traditional owners.

‘It’s not appropriate to be spraying chemicals here ” it’s too close to the river, it’s too close to people,’ she said.

‘It’s a sensitive and vulnerable environment because there are fresh water streams here ” this is the place to leave alone and let non-chemical eco restoration do the job.’

Bassendean Mayor John Gangell said he applauded the efforts of the community.

‘The council is more than happy for community members to be engaged and do the volunteering and we’ve allowed them until August 20 at which stage we’ll assess how successful it’s been,’ he said. ‘If the veldt grass is removed then there won’t be any need for us to use any chemicals on the reserve.

‘We want to make sure there is a group that can be sustained over a number of years because we don’t want that enthusiasm to fall off and the reserve go back into a weed infestation.’

Ms Bremmer said the community group would continue removing the weeds until mid-August, with plans to continue the campaign in years to come. She said for the past two years her family moved out of their home during the spraying period after their health was compromised in 2001.

‘So this year, after talking to the traditional owners I decided to take action and agreed with council to remove the weeds by hand ourselves.

‘It’s a very profound community win because it will have ramifications across the State ” if we can do it other communities can.

‘It shows the council that people are actually willing to take action and not just complain.’