Bayswater Wetland under threat of development

The site is adjacent to Riverside Gardens and the newly restored Eric Singleton Bird Sanctuary. The destruction included removing stunning paperbarks in the water for fire protection (outside the development boundary). This required no notification to anyone. One baby long necked turtle was rescued before the bystander was told to leave the site.

What can you do?

For updates, see our Facebook page No Houses In Wetlands

Sign the online petition started by local MP Lisa Baker

More information about this petition

Local Member of Parliament Lisa Baker is working with the City of Bayswater on this issue and will be taking this matter up with the WA Environment Minister and the Minister for Planning, which must answer to how this destruction of unique and sensitive wetlands could have taken place under existing planning policies and environmental regulations.

We need your help as a local community member or concerned citizen. You can help add your voice by signing the petition below. We must put a stop to the current clearing until we can be assured that existing buffer zones will be preserved.

The WA Government must also act to make sure environmental protections of native wildlife and ecosystems are protected from private development.

We cannot let other urban wetland areas fall under the same fate.

Please sign the online petition and share with your friends.

Wetland rally - 11th October 2016

The biggest friend the Eric Singleton Bird Sanctuary and the 'Carter' Wetland has is you.

We can't stress enough how very important it is that everyone comes along to Parliament House at 12 noon on 11th October 2016 for our wetland rally.

Not just for our wetland, but for all of our wetlands in Perth.

But back to our wetlands, negotiations are continuing between the Carter family and Council to see if the 'Carter' wetland can be bought and saved. Unfortunately the wetland can't be completely saved, because currently the D'Orazio and Carter families have approval from the state government to put two cul-de-sacs in the southern part of the wetland. The section that has been cleared. So we are pushing the state government to put a Planning Control Area over the site and to negotiate a land swap with the D'Orazio family, to place their development in a far more suitable location.

We don't want the families to lose out, but we do want to save two wetlands and protect the environmental and community amenity of Riverside Gardens.

Hopefully with a lot of good will this can be possible. In the background to this, we have uncovered a range of anomalies about how state government departments assess wetlands owned by private land owners. Basically there appears to be no attempt to save any wetland that is not classified 'conservation' wetland, and most of this mapping has not been updated since 1996. Lake Monger is not a conservation wetland, so that gives you an idea of how high the bar has to be to be classified for protection. Even as a "conservation'' wetland, there is no legal requirement for a buffer zone. So we are now pushing, as a first step, for all wetlands in private ownership in Perth to be identified by local councils (so ask your Council to do this now as a priority!) and for the state government to begin a process through land swaps and land purchases to save these incredibly important flora and fauna hotspots.

BACKGROUND information from Rachael Roberts, Coordinator, Environment House

Letter to Minister for Planning Donna Faragher

Dear Minister for Planning,

On Tuesday 12th July 2016 a bulldozer took to the beautiful wetland across the footpath from Eric Singleton Wetland. File Number SD15-0195. The irreversible environmental damage was deemed preliminary works, including removing stunning paperbarks in the water for fire protection (outside the development boundary). This required no notification to anyone. One baby tortoise was rescued before the bystander was told to leave the site. A photo is attached. We don't know how much fauna was destroyed along with the flora fringing the wetland. No survey was done before the works.

In the 1950's when wetlands were seen as unproductive land and their ecological value was not understood, this wetland was sold to two families. For over 60 years this wetland has had an axe over its head. Community members have walked past peering into the canopy to view the extraordinary bird life, the tortoises and enjoy the cacophony of frogs amongst the majestic paperbarks. We thought that surely this treasured space could not be destroyed. It is said that the Carter family, over the years, spoke of gifting the wetland back to the people of Bayswater, but as family members died so did this dream. Members of the community over the years have tried to have the wetland saved.

In 2015 the Barnett election commitment to restore Eric Singleton wetland to a functioning ecological community was completed. This wetland had been used as a tip site and it took $3 million and a lot of hard work to restore it. All of the fauna was assessed and carefully managed over the restoration project. In stark contrast to what happened to the wetland a few meters away on Tuesday. In 2016, we are not putting our rubbish in our Swan River wetlands. We are putting houses. And this is in fact much worse. Have we learned nothing?

There is no community value in having houses in the area where this development is going ahead. This is one of the most well used riverside park lands in the whole of Perth. It is a leisure area and an area where people can go to experience nature. Children don't just need nature playgrounds. They need to be able to peer into the depths of wild wetlands like this and discover all of the life that is within. The Parks and Wildlife education team and 170 local primary aged children did that in March this year.

My question to you, as the person who has overseen the commencement of the destruction of the wetland for the 27 Lot Freehold Subdivision known as Skipper's Row is, in this day and age, can't we do better than this? With negotiation between the landowners, Council, the community and government, can't we reverse this historical mistake - and save one of the few wetlands we have left? Can't we organise a land swap (there are acres of grass on the other side of Eric Singleton Wetland which would provide a decent buffer zone). Or buy the wetland back. We are talking about what is best for two families versus all of the life in the wetland, the wildlife in Eric Singleton Wetland, the community use of this space and the community heartbreak at losing a piece of nature on our doorstep - something we thought was for all of us. Fifty of us met there on Friday, organised with less than 24 hours' notice and the disbelief at what has happened across the whole community is palpable.

On the 16th September 2015 Minister Albert Jacob said this:

"Restoration of Eric Singleton Wetland was an election commitment and it's pleasing to see work on this important project progress with such a high level of community support".

The key reason for City of Bayswater Councillors opposing the Skipper's Row development was the visual and environmental impacts of the proposed subdivision, adjacent to the Eric Singleton Bird Sanctuary. It will be difficult to use that word after this development goes ahead.

The final decision rests with you and the Barnett Government. What will you do?

Rachael Roberts