Cott bulldozer concerns

BULLDOZERS will drive about 200m through restored sand dunes to repair a Cottesloe sewer as part of Water Corporation work at Swanbourne Beach tomorrow, concerning environmentalists.

�Water Corporation did say we could be there to supervise, but they never told us they would start tomorrow, and there�s a much bigger footprint for the machinery than we were initially told,� Swanbourne Coastal Alliance (SCA) convenor Jean-Paul Orsini said.

SCA and the City of Nedlands have spent eight years and about $250,000 restoring the 3ha Bushland Forever site between the Naked Fig Caf� and the SAS�s Campbell Barracks, stabilising the dunes and creating habitat for the rare white-winged blue wren.

The Water Corporation has planned to dredge sediment from about 250m of the Cottesloe gravity sewer that runs about 150m behind Swanbourne Beach to City Beach, to stop sewage overflows at nearby homes, for the past year.

Mr Orsini said that during about four meetings until three weeks ago, the Corporation rejected using an SCA-suggested access plate close to the bushland�s edge because it was deep at 6m.

It instead chose a manhole further inside the site.

At 2.30pm today, a 20-tonne excavator arrived via a specially-built gravel road through barrack�s land to dunes directly behind the beach where an area about 200m by 80m had been excised from the bushland for the work.

�It�s a corner of the site that will be impacted but it�s a corner that has significant vegetation,� Mr Orsini said.

A Water Corporation spokeswoman said it had worked closely with SCA and Nedlands Council to identify the route with the least possible impact on the Bushland Forever site and the actual area being excavated will be narrower than the 20m allowed by a permit to clear bush.

�We have since been in contact with Swanbourne Coastal Alliance and they are also attending tomorrow,� she said.

She said rehabilitation would restore any affected areas to original condition, the machinery�s movement would be closely monitored and the route would be photographed before and after the work to guide the restoration.