THE Lorax lurked on the steps of parliament this week to speak for the trees, imploring MPs to protect privately-owned Bayswater wetlands that are being eyed off for housing.
The Lorax joined campaigners from Environment House and Maylands MP Lisa Baker who tabled a petition calling on planning minister Donna Faragher to grant a planning control area for the wetland to halt further works.
In the upper house Labor MP Samantha Rowe said “given the significance of the privately owned wetlands known as Skipper’s Row and Carter’s Block… will the minister declare either of these sites a planning control area”.
Ms Faragher’s response: “No. The existing planning framework and processes that apply to the sites provide for the consideration of environmental matters.
“I understand that the City of Bayswater is exploring options to potentially purchase the land, which would also involve considering the possible reservation of the site under its local planning scheme.”
She pointed out Bayswater had the option to buy up the land or change its zoning to prevent housing in years past, “and it chose not to”.
“It should be noted that the site has been zoned urban under the metropolitan region scheme since at least 1963 and for residential purposes under the City of Bayswater town planning scheme 24 since at least 2004. Further I am advised that although the site is identified as a multiple use wetland, this is the lowest classification level and it does not prohibit subdivision or development.”
The protesters haven’t given up: They were outside parliament again this week calling for intervention.
by DAVID BELL