Discovery of ‘historic and rare’ native tree could impact Scarborough foreshore redevelopment


Nina McLaren from Friends of Trigg Beach, which has recently found a rare plant - Callitris Preissii - at Bush Forever Site 308. Picture: Andrew Ritchie
Nina McLaren from Friends of Trigg Beach, which has recently found a rare plant - Callitris Preissii - at Bush Forever Site 308. Picture: Andrew Ritchie

A TRIGG environmental group claim they have found a “historic and rare” species of native tree in dunes that could be cleared as part of the Scarborough redevelopment.

Controversial road extensions through Bush Forever sites 310 and 308 were proposed as part of the State Government’s $75 million Scarborough foreshore redevelopment to ease traffic congestion on West Coast Highway and Scarborough Beach Road.

However, Planning Minister Donna Faragher later announced the Government would “explore alternative options” after backlash from the community.

Perth botanist Bronwen Keighery presented to the Friends of Trigg Bushland and other conservation groups on February 19, and said some of the rare ‘Callitris preissii’, also known as Rottnest Island Pine, were at least 100 years old and up to 9m-tall.

“There is a thriving community of the native tree that has until now, not been recognised,” she said.

“These plants form the basis of a Threatened Ecological Community that is protected by Commonwealth legislation.

“Two of these trees are estimated to be at least 100 years old, and new seedlings show that the community is healthy and regenerating; this is a historic and State- and Federally-listed rare community.”

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Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority (MRA) chief executive Kieran Kinsella said planning for the road extensions was on hold while alternative options were investigated.

“Planning, including further environmental assessment, will recommence once a final decision is taken on the preferred transport solution,” she said.

Friends of Trigg Bushland President Nina McLaren said the group had also sought the knowledge of Vic Semeniuk, a coastal expert.

“We have received a report from Dr Semeniuk stating that the shape of the dunes both north and south of Scarborough – in Bush Forever Sites 308 and 310 – is consistent with natural accretion, and that these dunes are not man-made,” she said.

“The dune formations are worth preserving, as a small living museum for future generations to show not only what kinds of dune structures originally existed, but also to show the kinds of plants that grew on them.”

Ms McLaren said the further environmental studies should have been completed before the roads were proposed.

“It is a pity that local friends groups, who have virtually no resources, have to conduct their own research when this type of study should have been done by the State Government in the early stages of planning,” she said.