We have an issue in Western Australia. It’s not one that can be fixed by simply changing political parties; it is one which is entrenched. The Department of Main Roads, Department of Education and Department of Planning have shown that the environment is not something they are concerned about.
As Edmund Burke wrote, “Society is a contract … it becomes a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born. Each contract of each particular state is but a clause in the great primæval contract of eternal society.” Just as my beliefs on financial management hold true, so too do my beliefs on the environment. Today’s society has a responsibility to ensure tomorrow’s can enjoy what we currently do.
And yet we, collectively, are failing.
The locals of Bayswater are complaining about the Eric Singleton Bird Sanctuary development but only a handful would be aware that Point Peron, Mandurah, Beeliar and many other areas face the same problem. And yet I don’t point the finger of blame because I have no right to; I have only just signed the Mandurah petition, and have turned a blind eye to friends who have asked me to get involved with Point Peron. This weekend was already too full for me to go to Riverside Gardens and help today with signature collecting for the petition to protect the Eric Singleton Bird Sanctuary. I give credit to those who did brave the weather. Those who decided that there was no better thing to do this weekend other than make a stand and have their voice heard.
Should it be our job though; is it beholden on us to educate and lobby the government on how they should protect the environment for today’s and tomorrow’s generations? I would hope not.
But, from all the media coverage on the Eric Singleton Bird Sanctuary development, one thing rings the loudest. “A recommendation for land along the King William Street frontage of the proposal to be set aside as additional public open space was determined to be of no practical benefit as a buffer,” Department of Planning Acting Director General Sue Burrows said.
My questions for the grandiosely titled Sue Burrows are:
- Said who? Who determined it would be of no benefit?
- Why was a development adjacent to Eric Singleton Bird Sanctuary not considered important enough to go to the full commission; why was it handled under delegated authority by presumably junior staff?
- Why were there so few environmental conditions imposed on the development? One concern is that it is widely known that there are acid sulphate soils in the area, and when it was disturbed it can simply run through the open pipeline to the Swan River. Another is that there is precious wildlife in the area which bulldozers could be crushing.
- I have been assured the Department of Parks and Wildlife wrote a letter supporting the increased buffer zone. Why was this recommendation ignored?
If you have any other questions you would like answered, please add them below in the comments section. In a few days I shall be submitting a Freedom of Information request for this information if the questions remain unanswered.
There is one thing my life has assured me of, we all make mistakes. I suggest the WAPC would be well served by admitting theirs rather than entrenching a position which can’t be defended.
Power to the people.
(Please be aware that these views are my own and have not been endorsed by the City of Bayswater)