THE Department of Parks and Wildlife is standing by its decision not to restore grass to a small amenity area near the entrance to Attadale’s Troy Park, despite ongoing pressure from nearby residents.
Environment Minister Albert Jacob conceded that the grassed area, which is approximately 500sq m, was originally poisoned and revegetated without proper authority and that 130sqm had since been restored.
He said the remaining area would be “retained as native sedges, in keeping with contemporary conservation practice.”
The original revegetation was carried out by the Swan Estuary Reserves Action Group (SERAG) in August 2014 after it sought permission from the City of Melville .
Mr Jacob said that the City of Melville historically maintained the grass and footpaths in the area but that the land was vested with the Conservation and Parks Commission of Western Australia and managed by DPaW as a Class A nature reserve.
“The department believes that SERAG acted in good faith given that it sought approval from the City of Melville, who believed it was the land manager,” he said.
This was confirmed in answers provided by City staff to questions tabled at an agenda briefing forum in March 2015 when the City stated that it had approved the “environmental restoration work” and that it was unaware the area was under DPaW’s responsibility until it was brought to the City’s attention.
The City of Melville declined to comment on the issue, referring the matter to DPaW as the appropriate authority.
The Melville Times was provided with eight separate letters from nearby residents imploring Mr Jacob to return the contested area to grass, as well as a petition containing more than 50 signatures opposing a proposed shift of the existing black mesh fence to excise the area in question into the bordering nature reserve.
A DPaW letter distributed to nearby residents on May 9 acknowledged the public comment and stated that the existing fence would not be re-aligned but that the site would be re-planted with native vegetation.
It also said that the area was the subject of ongoing vandalism and that if the new native vegetation was removed or poisoned DPaW would reconsider moving the existing fence to protect the revegetation works.
Nearby resident Gary Crawford said the grassed amenity had been enjoyed by families in the neighbourhood for 40 years.
“It was falsely and unlawfully poisoned without consultation with residents and should be reinstated,” he said.
“DPaW should also give proper consideration to the long-standing residents’ request for an in-memoriam park bench and an additional table and bench that the community is happy to assist in funding.”