St Brigid’s College faces community backlash over plans to clear block of land


Cari Crockart and local residents. Picture: Bruce Hunt d478692
Cari Crockart and local residents. Picture: Bruce Hunt d478692

THERE is community concern over a proposal by St Brigid’s College to clear a block of land and redevelop a historic house on the site for an early learning centre.

City of Kalamunda has received an application from the college to clear 2500sq m of vegetation behind the school on Lesmurdie Road.

Resident Carrie Crockart said the development would have a significant negative impact on residents and the environment.

“If approved local residents will be dealing with an increase in noise and traffic and the loss of our trees,” she said.

“The trees on this site are cockatoo foraging habitat and represent the last stand of native trees in this area.

“Over the past 10 years there has been significant clearing of the bushland in this part of Lesmurdie leaving only this small patch of native trees to attract native birds, quenda, possums and bees, which then visit our gardens.”

A St Brigid’s College spokeswoman said land clearing was a Department of Fire and Emergency Services requirement to reduce vulnerability in a bushfire.

“The proposal is not for total clearing but rather parkland management which clears the understorey and allows retention of a percentage of existing trees,” she said.

“Car parking is being co-located in these areas as it also assists in reducing fuel load and achieving compliance and stops the need for clearing in other areas for parking.”

The spokeswoman said environmental consultants Mattiske Consulting undertook a flora and vegetation study of the area.

“The key findings of the study were that no declared or listed threatened or priority flora species were found,” she said.

“No suitable hollows for black cockatoos were recorded and the proposed works could not be considered significant in the local or regional context for the foraging activities of the birds.”

The spokeswoman said cleared land north and south of the proposed development was unsuitable.

“Both of these areas are a significant distance away from the entry to the early learning centre and unsuitable for drop-off and pickup which requires convenient, short-term / high turnover parking bays,” she said.

The spokeswoman said using Lesmurdie House as an early learning centre was a unique opportunity for significant heritage conservation work to be undertaken on the building by the College.

“The proposal, including site surrounds has been fully supported and approved by the State Heritage Office,” she said.

However East Metro Greens MLC Tim Clifford said the community had made it clear that they won’t stand by and give developers a free pass to clear bushland in the Hills.

“I urge the council to listen to residents,” he said.

“The trees in our neighbourhoods are critical.

“While one or two trees may not seem significant; when this is happening wholesale across our city it has an enormous impact.”

Comments on the proposal close 5pm tomorrow.

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