Friends of Shenton Bushland worried about college expansion

Friends of Shenton Bushland worried about college expansion

ENVIRONMENTAL group Friends of Shenton Bushland is concerned plans to expand Shenton College may lead to the clearing of nearby native bushland.

Group convenor Daniel Boase-Jelinek spoke at last month’s City of Nedlands Council meeting and asked councillors to vote against the proposed expansion of the school.

Despite concerns raised by several councillors over the clearing of bushland during the debate, the council endorsed the proposal 10-1.

The proposal for a $49.5 million expansion of Shenton College to cater for an extra 1000 students is with the WA Planning Commission (WAPC), with an answer expected this month.

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Department of Education acting executive director of infrastructure Milan Trifunovic said the new buildings would be constructed on land owned by the department.

“No trees will be removed but some vegetation on the department’s land will be cleared to make room for new buildings. A clearing permit was deemed unnecessary by the Department of Environment Regulation,” he said.

Mr Boase-Jelinek said if the current plans for the expansion went ahead, there would likely be 1ha of bushland cleared for firebreaks.

“The Department of Education is planning to put the building 20m from bushland, which means there will need to be a new fire break and beyond that there will be fuel requirements to manage the bushland because it is near a school, so that means the further reduction of vegetation,” he said

He said the group was concerned that soon there would be no vegetation left in the area for native wildlife, including the endangered Carnaby black cockatoo.

“The development of Shenton College is only one of the proposed developments in the area which will mean the clearing of native bushland, piece by piece bushland is disappearing in the area,” he said.

City of Nedlands chief executive Greg Trevaskis said the council expressed concern about the proposal at the meeting last month.

“Ultimately the approval of the application is not a council decision, but one for WAPC and until the final bushfire management plan is approved by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services it will not be known if bush in Shenton Bushland will be affected,” he said.

If the proposal is approved by the WAPC, construction will begin in May and is due to be completed late 2018.