Close call for Hyde’s turtles

An unwary contractor drove over sensitive tree roots and close to nesting turtle sites in Hyde Park.

A HEAVY duty truck driving through Hyde Park has ridden roughshod over delicate tree roots and turtle nesting sites. 

Australian Garden History Society WA branch chair John Viska last year warned plans to put a commercial kiosk in Hyde Park were counter to the park’s heritage listing and were a risk to its venerable trees.

The kiosk plan prompted the national AGHS to put Hyde Park on its “landscapes at risk” list.

A year on the western toilet block is being readied for a new commercial kitchen.

This week a sub-contractor’s truck tore up the grass, and drove over red cedar roots and tough netting put down to protect known turtle laying sites.

The damage happened in a ‘zone of considerable significance’ as specified by the 2003 Hyde Park Conservation Plan, Mr Viska says.

We asked Vincent council what went wrong.

“This is not normal practice and fortunately no turtles or hatchlings were harmed,” mayor Emma Cole said in an emailed response.

“In this instance, a sub-contractor entered the site after hours on 13 May,” Ms Cole says.

“The driver had not been to site before and had not been properly briefed by the responsible contractor on the correct procedure to protect Hyde Park.”

That would include a briefing by the overseer before being allowed on the park.

“Since this incident, the city’s contractor contacted the driver and reiterated the correct procedures.”

Bright orange bunting has now gone up to make it clear where not to drive. 

The parks team will also work with the UWA research project studying the oblong turtle population to look at options for more protection for the turtle nests.

by DAVID BELL

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