School plans spark bush fears

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News - By LISA THOMAS

EN­VI­RON­MEN­TAL group Friends of Shen­ton Bush­land is con­cerned plans to ex­pand Shen­ton Col­lege may lead to the clear­ing of nearby na­tive bush­land.

Group con­venor Daniel BoaseJe­linek spoke at last month’s City of Ned­lands Coun­cil meet­ing and asked coun­cil­lors to vote against the pro­posed ex­pan­sion of the school.

De­spite con­cerns raised by sev­eral coun­cil­lors over the clear­ing of bush­land dur­ing the de­bate, the coun­cil en­dorsed the pro­posal 10-1.

The pro­posal for a $49.5 mil­lion ex­pan­sion of Shen­ton Col­lege to cater for an ex­tra 1000 stu­dents is with the WA Plan­ning Com­mis­sion (WAPC), with an an­swer ex­pected this month.

De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion act­ing ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of in­fra­struc­ture Mi­lan Tri­funovic said the new build­ings would be con­structed on land owned by the de­part­ment.

“No trees will be re­moved but some veg­e­ta­tion on the de­part­ment’s land will be cleared to make room for new build­ings. A clear­ing per­mit was deemed un­nec­es­sary by the De­part­ment of En­vi­ron­ment Reg­u­la­tion,” he said.

Mr Boase-Jelinek said if the current plans for the ex­pan­sion went ahead, there would likely be 1ha of bush­land cleared for fire­breaks.

“The De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion is plan­ning to put the build­ing 20m from bush­land, which means there will need to be a new fire break and be­yond that there will be fuel re­quire­ments to man­age the bush­land be­cause it is near a school, so that means the fur­ther re­duc­tion of veg­e­ta­tion,” he said

He said the group was con­cerned that soon there would be no veg­e­ta­tion left in the area for na­tive wildlife, in­clud­ing the en­dan­gered Carn­aby black cock­a­too.

“The de­vel­op­ment of Shen­ton Col­lege is only one of the pro­posed de­vel­op­ments in the area which will mean the clear­ing of na­tive bush­land, piece by piece bush­land is dis­ap­pear­ing in the area,” he said.

City of Ned­lands chief ex­ec­u­tive Greg Trevaskis said the coun­cil ex­pressed con­cern about the pro­posal at the meet­ing last month.

“Ul­ti­mately the ap­proval of the ap­pli­ca­tion is not a coun­cil de­ci­sion, but one for WAPC and un­til the fi­nal bush­fire man­age­ment plan is ap­proved by the De­part­ment of Fire and Emer­gency Ser­vices it will not be known if bush in Shen­ton Bush­land will be af­fected,” he said.

If the pro­posal is ap­proved by the WAPC, con­struc­tion will be­gin in May and is due to be com­pleted late 2018.

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