Friends fight for Dianella bushland

Leave our bushland alone: Friends of Dianella Bushland members Rick Denniston, Jan Bant, Graham Zemunik and Mary Gray don’t want this corridor of land to be developed.Picture: Andrew Ritchie         www.communitypix.com.au   d447025
Leave our bushland alone: Friends of Dianella Bushland members Rick Denniston, Jan Bant, Graham Zemunik and Mary Gray don’t want this corridor of land to be developed.Picture: Andrew Ritchie         www.communitypix.com.au d447025

MEMBERS of environmental group Friends of Dianella Bushland are fighting to save what they say is the only untouched bushland left in the City of Stirling from development.

Developers RobertsDay submitted an application on behalf of Channel 9, which owns the 5-hectare plot of bushland.

The development proposal was rejected by the City of Stirling but Stirling planning and development director Ross Povey said the decision to redevelop rested with the WA Planning Commission (WAPC).

A WAPC spokeswoman said the WAPC engaged an environmental consultant to survey the area and was waiting for an ecological report.

“We cannot confirm a date the report will be made available and are unable to respond to queries in the meantime,” she said.

City of Stirling councillors voted this month to discuss options with the landowner about bringing remnant vegetation into public ownership.

A council report said the area was identified as a potential Bush Forever site in 2000, but was removed from further consideration in 2005 as the landowners did not support the nomination.

Friends of Dianella Bushland convener Rick Denniston said preserving the site as Bush Forever would limit a developer’s options.

“It’s like a heritage building being rejected for listing because an owner doesn’t want to abide by the regulations which may be more onerous than they want,” Mr Denniston said.

Mr Denniston said a level one environmental survey commissioned by the WA Local Government Association had been carried out in the area.

“A level one survey not worth the paper it is written on,” he said.

“This is now recognised by both WA Planning Commission (WAPC) and Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPAW.)

“This bushland forms a connecting corridor of bushland and is a highly species-rich area.”

According to the Stirling officer’s report, the survey was not sufficient in determining the significance of the area.

Mr Denniston said Friends of Dianella bushland would continue to campaign for the bushland to be preserved.

“It is an essential linkage corridor between two adjacent areas of Bush Forever and important habitat for the endangered Carnaby’s cockatoos,” he said.

A RobertsDay spokesman said he was unable to comment as the decision was with the WAPC.

He said the application might not be finalised until next year.

A spokeswoman from the Department of Environment Regulation said because the department had not received any applications to clear native vegetation, it did not hold any information on environmental surveys which may have been carried out.