Bush­land un­der siege

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Front Page - By JON BAS­SETT

EN­VI­RON­MEN­TAL­ISTS claim De­fence Hous­ing Aus­tralia (DHA) could rip up land they re­stored if the SAS’s Seaward Vil­lage is de­mol­ished for civil­ian houses at Camp­bell Bar­racks in Swan­bourne.

“We’ve seen con­cept draw­ings which show them dig­ging down, cre­at­ing stepped blocks so the houses don’t see over into the bar­racks,” Friends of Allen Park Bush­land (FoAPB) mem­ber Les­ley Shaw said.

DHA wants to de­mol­ish 154 de­fence homes in the 22ha vil­lage, use about half the south side for civil­ian hous­ing and put 165 new sol­diers’ homes on the re­main­der, plac­ing civil­ians within 200m of the bar­racks.

FoAPB and Swan­bourne Black Cock­a­too Watch mem­bers said DHA draw­ings showed about 75m of Mel­lon Hill’s west slope and a bush strip to the coast, to­gether cov­er­ing about 1ha and which took 18 years to re­store, could be dug into and flat­tened for civil­ians’ blocks.

Cock­a­too Watch spokes­woman Anielka Briggs said ground lev­el­ling would de­stroy ma­ture trees and par­rot bushes, which made the vil­lage and its sur­round­ing bush a refuge for threat­ened black cock­a­toos.

“The whole point is, like the SAS sol­diers and their fam­i­lies, the birds like the vil­lage be­cause it’s undis­turbed and se­cure,” Mrs Briggs said.

She plans to ask Fed­eral En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Greg Hunt to give the bush the high­est Mat­ter of Na­tional En­vi­ron­men­tal Sig­nif­i­cance pro­tec­tion.

The bush car­ers fear re­de­vel­op­ment, in­clud­ing trucks bring­ing weeds, will de­stroy thou­sands of hours of vol­un­teer work and de­grade the bush strip the Na­tional Her­itage Trust de­clared a seed bank in 2001.

A DHA spokes­woman said it was asked by the De­part­ment of De­fence to con­sider Melon Hill in con­cept plan­ning and it was ex­pected some ex­ca­va­tion would be re­quired.

She said DHA would work to keep ex­ist­ing trees and bush “wher­ever pos­si­ble” and any bush­land man­age­ment plan would in­clude weed con­trol.

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