Bayswater up for buying wetlands

01. 945NEWS

• The normally wizard-like Greg Smith as eco-savior The Lorax who speaks for the trees. Photo by Branka Radanovich

BAYSWATER council is looking into buying part of the wetland next to the Eric Singleton bird sanctuary to prevent any more clearing for houses.

A press release from mayor Barry McKenna says the council is investigating “all options” to try and save the wetland which is adjacent to a proposed sub-division already partly cleared by the family of former mayor John D’Orazio.

Mr McKenna says if the council decides to buy the land at lot 14 King William Street, which is owned by the Carter family, it will ask the Barnett government for a contribution.

Buffer option

Another option it’s exploring is whether a buffer can be imposed to protect the site, although a similar request on the adjacent subdivision was knocked back by the WA planning commission.

“We’ll also be asking for [state government] support to declare lot 14, 128 King William Street as a planning control area for wetland conservation,” Mr McKenna says.

If the council purchases the block, it will throw a spanner in the works for the D’Orazio development, as its access was reliant on a cul-de-sac to be built there.

Meanwhile The Lorax has visited the wetlands in a bid to halt the D’Orazio development.

Greg Smith from the Bayswater Urban Tree Network already spends a lot of time speaking for trees, but took it one step further on the weekend by dressing up as the Dr Suess character and dying his flowing hair and beard bright orange.

The town planner held up a banner at the Avon Descent finishing line, imploring people to sign a petition against the development. The petition is also available at the No Houses in Wetlands Facebook group.

The Lorax spent the day chatting with people about the frogs, turtles and birds in the wetlands and explaining what kids could do to save the few remaining wetlands along the Swan coastal plain.

Bayswater CEO Francesca Lefante has defended not telling councillors about a second offer from the Carter family to sell its block in 2013, saying that although the price had been reduced the council had unanimously knocked back a previous offer.

“While hindsight is a great thing, it must be remembered that there was no state government WAPC approval to subdivide the land until 2016 when the commission approved 27 lots on the adjoining land (130 King William Street), and two cul-de-sac heads on 128 King William Street,” Ms Lefante said.

There’s also been talk that the city’s finances were in better shape in 2013 so a purchase could’ve been more feasible a second time around.

Ms Lefante says “while it is true that the city’s finances had been boosted in 2013 by the sale of the Brabham land in the City of Swan, the proceeds were used to replenish severely depleted reserves that had funded an extensive capital works program in previous years”.


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