Bush habitat at risk

Tim Colegate has concerns about Wilkins Road Reserve bushland and the wildlife that calls it home. Picture: Matthew Poon d398305
Tim Colegate has concerns about Wilkins Road Reserve bushland and the wildlife that calls it home. Picture: Matthew Poon d398305

Residents who live opposite the bushland reserve told The Reporter they are concerned about wildlife that depend on the area.

Mary Syme, who lives nearby and walks her dogs through the bush twice a day, said birds and kangaroos on the reserve would have their habitat disturbed.

‘I have seen black cockatoos, which are endangered, and many other bird breeds, including parrots, magpies, pink and grey galahs, and I would be devastated to see this taken from them,’ she said.

Planning Minister and Member for Kalamunda Mr Day said a request from the Shire of Kalamunda to rezone the land was under consideration.

‘Such a rezoning would allow the site to be used for aged-care purposes,’ he said.

‘If approved, the Shire of Kalamunda’s Local Planning Scheme would need to be amended to accommodate the proposal.

‘The Department of Planning has agreed to consider the two amendments concurrently, to expedite the process.

‘Environmental assessment would be considered as part of the rezoning process.’

Mr Day said if the rezoning was approved, a detailed development application would then need to be considered.

‘The development could only proceed after required planning processes had occurred,’ he said.

‘Following that, it is at the discretion of the Shire or landowner at the time as to when the site is actually developed.

‘My understanding is the Shire has an agreement with the Bethanie Group to undertake an aged-care development ” if the relevant approvals occur,’ Mr Day said.

Resident Tim Colegate said he was concerned the area would no longer be of use to the community.

‘This reserve is used by the community for walking and mountain biking and it’s close to the rail trail, which connects onto the Railway Reserve,’ he said.

‘It is a significant area of well-maintained bush, with many trees and wildflowers and is a habitat for animals.

‘They includes kangaroos, bobtails (lizards), black cockatoos, eagles and various other birds.’

Mr Colegate said he had purchased his property a few years ago and the bushland reserve was a significant factor in his decision-making.

‘At the time, I checked to ensure that it was zoned for parks and recreation because I wanted to know that this bushland would not be cleared,’ Mr Colegate said.

Baudin and Carnaby’s cockatoos can live up to 20 years and residents are concerned that if their habitat is affected they would never return to the area.

The birds are protected under the WA Wildlife Conservation Act, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act and listed as endangered on the International Union Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species.

A Department of Environment and Conservation spokesperson said if the black cockatoos were eating nuts and seeds they were definitely Carnaby’s cockatoos.

Mr Cole has set up a website with more information at www.bit.ly/wilkinsroad.