City of Wanneroo pushing ahead with plans to clear area of protected bushland

City of Wanneroo pushing ahead with plans to clear area of protected bushland

CITY of Wanneroo will seek approval to clear half of a Landsdale park home to protected bushland.

Development of Hardcastle Park was listed in the City’s 2015-16 capital works budget and during the concept design phase the site was found to be a threatened ecological community.

It contains Banksia woodland, which is safeguarded at State and Federal levels and classified as one of the highest levels for protection, and part of the Karrakatta vegetation complex, which is poorly protected across Perth.

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According to the City’s report presented at the May 30 council meeting, it investigated potential environmental offsets but found none were suitable so developed a design within the environmental constraints.

Following Western Power concerns about the proximity of the intended development to the adjacent 6m easement for overhead transmission lines, a further concept plan was created to meet safety requirements.

An on-site public consultation session was held in November, where the majority of attendees objected to the proposal because they wanted more vegetation cleared for use.

Mayor Tracey Roberts wrote to former Environment Minister Albert Jacob and in January received a response encouraging the City to liaise with the Department of Environment Regulation (DER) about requirements for a clearing permit.

It did this but was told the department could not provide feedback on potential permits without a formal assessment of the area so another plan was created based on clearing half the site, which included a larger grassed area, toddler play equipment with shade sails, nature play area, bird’s nest swing, picnic table and bench seat.

The City’s report said 81 per cent of 127 respondents supported the plan during the consultation period and of the 24 who did not, half wanted more bush cleared while four people did not want any removed.

“For the respondents who were in favour of the proposed concept, comments centred on support of the larger turf area, the balance between developed space and retained bushland, and the relocation of equipment to a central area away from Landsdale Road,” it said.

Nine comments regarding equipment requested items for older children, which the report said would be addressed during the detailed design process.

Despite Councillor Natalie Sangalli voting against it, council passed the City’s recommendation to apply to the DER and Federal Department of Environment and Energy for a clearing permit, which could take six to 12 months to be processed and may result in more changes to the plan.

Cr Domenic Zappa included an amendment to request the Mayor write to relevant State and Federal Ministers and local members highlighting the importance of the development in the area.

He said it was much needed in southern Landsdale and struck a “fantastic balance” between catering for residents’ needs and retaining natural environment.

“It’s very important there is space for kids in our community to get around and kick a football,” he said.

“(Residents) are extremely unfortunate not to have any within walking distance.”

Councillor Samantha Fenn asked whether Harrogate Park, which is 475m away, was going to be developed and acting assets director Grant Chettleburgh confirmed it would be considered in next year’s capital works program but would seek clarification on what the development entailed.

Because of the cost of consultancy and Western Power fees, an additional $101,125 is requested in the 2017-18 budget for a total project cost of $491,125, with further “substantial clearing offset costs” expected.

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