City’s border plans queried

A yellow-billed spoonbill (foreground) and black-winged stilt at Pelican Point. Inset: Charles Merriam.
A yellow-billed spoonbill (foreground) and black-winged stilt at Pelican Point. Inset: Charles Merriam.

Swan Estuary Reserves Action Group chairwoman Catherine O’Neill has questioned whether protecting the outstanding and unique ecological values of Pelican Point was upper most in the minds of Perth city decision-makers.

In its October 4 submission to the Local Government Advisory Board, the City wants Royal Perth and Mounts Bay yacht clubs and the adjacent wildlife reserve to the boat ramp at JH Abrahams Park.

Pelican Point Group convenor Charles Merriam, who heads 15 birdwatchers advocating said the City of Perth did not have a record of protection of the natural environment but rather a record of development at all costs… ‘as exemplified by the destruction part of the Perth foreshore for the Elizabeth Quay development’.

He said kitesurfers, dog walkers and joggers should be banned to protect the birds, and while the City of Subiaco had helped in the past, birdwatchers doubted if the new Department of Parks and Wildlife would improve on the record of the previous Department of Conservation at the reserve.

The area claimed by the City of Perth includes two paid carparks and riverside cafe parking.

Last week, Local Government Minister Tony Simpson said an enlarged City of Perth could extend its $730 annual levy on car bays outside businesses.

Perth chief executive Gary Stevenson said Pelican Point access, parking, lighting, drainage and maintenance of the wildlife and marine reserves should be under one council.

‘Though it is too early to prescribe the detail of any future arrangements, it is most likely that current local government planning, regulation and service provision, including parking fees, in this area would continue as it is,’ Mr Stevenson said.

A Department of Parks and Wildlife spokeswoman said the wildlife reserve would remain its responsibility, and although it was told about the border proposal it would work with any council.

– Birdlife WA will host a walk at Pelican Point from 8am on December 12. Call 9383 7749.