River cash crisis

REPAIR work along the Swan River foreshore in Bayswater needs a tenfold increase in funding to cope with climate change, says the local council’s environmental team.

Bayswater is sending a submission to the McGowan government following the release of a discussion paper on climate change that paints a grim picture of the Swan turning even saltier as sea levels rise and replenishing rainwater diminishes.

Bayswater’s enviro staff have a laudable track record on river care (Maylands foreshore stabilisation, Eric Singleton sanctuary rehabilitation, the drains-to-waterways projects) but have urged councillors to prod the state for more money.

They say the extra money could make the foreshore resilient against erosion and other withering effects of climate change over the next 10 years.

They also want the state government to spend some of the cash it collects from landfill levies to help councils remediate their old landfill sites.

At Bayswater’s November 19 council meeting councillor Barry McKenna described the landfill levy as “a cash cow” that mostly went into propping up the state’s environment department.

“The current Labor government has not made any inroads to correct what the previous government did,” Cr McKenna said.

Baysie’s third complaint was that state government projects often left an environmental impact for councils to deal with, such as highway upgrades that saw trees removed.

The council wants future projects to include a “liveability assessment” so these big splashes of infrastructure didn’t leave legacies such as urban heat, biodiversity loss or worse air quality.

Cr Stephanie Gray said: “That’s something the state government really needs to be looking at… it often falls back on local government to look after state government projects.”

by DAVID BELL

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