Popularity of Gwelup’s Secret Garden damaging wetland

Secret Garden at Careniup Swamp Reserve in Gwelup.
Secret Garden at Careniup Swamp Reserve in Gwelup.

THE popularity of Gwelup’s Secret Garden is impacting the surrounding wetland.

The not so secret space at Careniup Swamp Reserve rose to public attention in 2015 after featuring heavily on social media.

People have been drawn to the magical-looking spot created by an abundance of exotic weeds including morning glory and giant reed, enclosed by flooded gums.

Photos from a City report show significant changes in the garden from 2014 to 2018.

Stirling Mayor Mark Irwin said the increased number of visitors meant the reserve needed careful management so the City had created a management plan.

“Careniup Swamp Reserve is the perfect place for bird watching, photography, nature play and walking,” he said.

“The draft management plan has been developed to balance the environmental and conservation needs of the swamp reserve, while still meeting the recreation needs of the community.

“We want to ensure this amazing and special natural resource is looked after well into the future and we would greatly value community feedback on the draft plan so we can do this.”

Plans include establishment of an elevated walkway through the Secret Garden to reduce use of informal paths, pedestrian bridges across the swamp, tree planting to screen view of houses from the reserve, eight additional parking bays, extra picnic area, concrete footpath through the reserve and elevated viewing area.

Some areas of the reserve are privately owned so development depends on owners ceding land to the City.

The City is also proposing to make it an on-leash dog exercise area.

Public comment on the plan is open until November 27 at www.yoursay.stirling.wa.gov.au/careniup.