Bushland buy an offset for industrial area

At last month’s council briefing, planning and sustainability director Len Kosova said environmental consultants Eco Logical lodged the City’s proposed offset package with State and federal environment departments last October.

Mr Kosova said their proposal had five key elements, including buying 295ha of land outside the industrial area, retaining 50ha of bushland within it, relocating 90ha of topsoil, retaining 4ha in Wanneroo for conservation and rehabilitating 20ha in Pinjar Park.

Instead the federal Department of the Environment provided an amended offset package, which did not include relocating any topsoil but required Wanneroo to buy 650ha of good to excellent land within the Gingin area.

Mr Kosova said although it sounded worse than the original package, the amendments would result in a $1 million cost saving for the City.

Overall, he said it would cost $2.045 million, which it could fund through the capital works program over the next 10 years.

Cr Sabine Winton asked about the environmental benefits of clearing bushland that was already Carnaby’s cockatoo habitat, and Mr Kosova said they would be buying privately owned land.

‘It becomes Crown ownership so it’s protected and can never be cleared,’ he said.

Mayor Tracey Roberts asked about the potential outcomes for economic development in the City’s 212ha landholding within the 1032ha industrial area.

‘This proposal will enable future subdivision to occur; we would know precisely what is expected from us from an environmental perspective,’ Mr Kosova said.

At the March 4 council meeting, councillors unanimously agreed to the amended offset package and noted the costs.