Call to re­vamp Ma­sons Gar­dens

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News -

FOR­MER WA Op­po­si­tion En­vi­ron­ment spokesman Bernie Masters says Ma­sons Gar­dens in Dalkeith has be­come “lit­tle more than a weed-filled mud hole”.

The en­vi­ron­men­tal sci­en­tist, who used to live in Pep­per­mint Grove, said the City of Ned­lands needed to en­gage an ex­pe­ri­enced wet­land ecol­o­gist to cre­ate a draft redevelopment and man­age­ment plan, fol­lowed by com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion.

Mr Masters said he had fond mem­o­ries of ex­plor­ing Ma­sons Gar­dens with neigh­bour­hood chil­dren in the 1960s, which sparked his in­ter­est in science from a young age.

“When I was given my first mi­cro­scope as a birth­day present, wa­ter sam­ples from this site showed the di­ver­sity of the site’s aquatic life,” he said.

“Now most of the plants are ex­otic weeds, with Euro­pean wil­lows the most com­mon tree.

“The new con­crete-lined wet­land cre­ated up­s­lope of the orig­i­nal wet­land is mod­er­ately at­trac­tive, but lacks di­ver­sity, and is full of in­tro­duced fish and sur­rounded by signs that ban chil­dren from ex­plor­ing and en­joy­ing this ar­ti­fi­cial en­vi­ron­ment.”

Mr Masters said the City needed to re­place the weeds and non-na­tive plants with lo­cal species and deepen the wet­land to in­crease wa­ter vol­ume and nat­u­ral bio­di­ver­sity.

“As pretty as the whole gar­den area may ap­pear to the causal ob­server, the big­gest losers are the chil­dren of Ned­lands and Dalkeith who have lost an op­por­tu­nity to ‘na­ture play’,” he said.

Ned­lands act­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive Mark Goodlet said the City did not have plans to turn Ma­sons Gar­dens into a per­ma­nent wet­land.

Mr Goodlet said the City had be­gun erad­i­cat­ing the most abun­dant ex­otic tree species, box el­der, but would not re­move the wil­low trees as they were planted more than 20 years ago.

“The sump in the mid­dle of the park is a nat­u­rally oc­cur­ring low point in the land­scape and as such it is a semi-per­ma­nent wet­land for an only short pe­riod of the year be­fore dry­ing out as the weather moves into sum­mer,” he said.

“The man-made ponds were specif­i­cally de­signed as a con­ser­va­tion project to ac­com­mo­date the ob­long tur­tles when the sump dried out.”

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