Sanctuary threatened

• Bayswater mayor Sylvan Albert at the Eric Singleton bird sanctuary. Photo by Jeremy Dixon

• Bayswater mayor Sylvan Albert at the Eric Singleton bird sanctuary. Photo by Jeremy Dixon

THE folding of the Swan River Trust into the WA parks and wildlife department will not affect funding for current and future projects along the Swan River, says WA environment minister Albert Jacob.

Former Bayswater mayor Terry Kenyon and Labor Maylands MP Lisa Baker have expressed concern various projects could fall by the wayside.

Their fears were exacerbated when the Barnett government knocked back the council’s grant application to restore the riverbank at Clarkson and Bath Street reserves.

Walkers had complained the slumping riverbank at Clarkson reserve had made it unsafe. The council erected orange barricades fencing, but they continued to tear.

“This makes me very concerned that the Eric Singleton bird sanctuary project may be the next one to be chopped,” Ms Baker says.

Mr Jacob told the Voice the funding model would not change.

“In relation to sub-regional support, the amalgamation of the trust into the department will make no difference to future funding for programs and projects currently occurring throughout the Swan and Canning rivers and it catchments,” he says.

“Future funding arrangements will continue to be considered on a case by case basis.

“The Eric Singleton bird sanctuary and the Weld square living stream will continue to be funded following the amalgamation of the SRT into the Parks and Wildlife department.”

Ms Baker worries about the long-term focus on the river.

“Barnett’s decision to axe the SRT will place huge stress on the deteriorating Swan River that has been crippled by algal blooms, low oxygen levels, fish and dolphin deaths,” she says.

The council had a number of share-funded projects with the old SRT, including improving water quality at Bayswater Brook.

Bayswater mayor Sylvan Albert, who ran for the WA Liberals at the state election in March, says the council will write to Mr Jacob to request a written assurance that funding will not be cut.

by STEPHEN POLLOCK

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