Illegal clearing still going on

Illegal clearing still going on

Hans Lambers is disgusted by the alleged illegal clearing. Photograph – Aaron Van Rongen.

A former environmental professor claims illegal clearing on Brook Road in Yule Brook is still occurring, despite the City of Gosnells issuing a stop work notice two weeks ago.

As reported in The Examiner on October 28, Hans Lambers, a former professor of Plant Biology/Ecology at the University of Western Australia and founder of the biodiversity group Kowngan Foundation, discovered illegal clearing occurring near the protected Allison Baird Reserve.

The reserve is home to federally protected ecological communities and 20 species listed by the state and federal government as threatened or rare.

At the time, City of Gosnells acting chief executive Martyn Glover confirmed the city was aware of the illegal earthworks and had issued an order to the landowner to stop work and replace any fill that had been brought to the site.

However late last week, on another visit to Allison Baird reserve, Hans Lambers discovered the clearing had not only stopped, but increased.

“The clearing appears to have proceeded since Saturday,” he said.

“An ancient grass tree bit the dust, among other native trees.

“Knowing grass trees grow at 1.5cm per year, that grass tree there must have been incredibly old.

“The amount of clearing is definitely more than on the weekend so there’s no question it is still going on.

“Sand is being dumped on the site and it looks as if that is still going on, as well as the clearing of vegetation.

“You’d never get a permit to do this.”

Mr Lambers said the clearing needed to stop as soon as possible.

City of Gosnells chief executive Ian Cowie, however, said the clearing had stopped and the infill was being removed.

“City staff continue to monitor the site to ensure the owner is complying with the notice, and will continue to do so until satisfied that all fill has been removed,” he said.

“All clearing on the property has been reported to the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, which is the agency responsible for investigating allegations of illegal clearing of native vegetation.”

A DWER spokesperson said an investigation into the clearing was still ongoing.

The maximum penalty for illegal clearing is $250,000 plus $50,000 per day for an individual, and $500,000 plus $100,000 per day for a business.