Fowl called on truck activity

Fowl called on truck activity

Truckloads of sand were dumped into the lake, disturbing nesting waterbirds, property owners said.

Harrisdale property owners fighting against the reclassification of their land were caught off guard on Friday when truck loads of sand were dumped in an apparent attempt to fill in a lake on the wetland.

Melissa Zappelli has been advocating for landowners at Balannup Road, Harrisdale after an environmental survey identified wetlands at the location – a classification which may see their properties devalued or seized without compensation.

Ms Zappelli said that she was alerted to the activity at Lot 201 Skeet Road, which adjoins her parents’ property, on Friday morning.

“Approximately ten loads of soil were dumped around the edge of the lake and then pushed into the water with heavy machinery,” Ms Zappelli said in emails to the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA).

“It is spring breeding season and the lake is full of waterbirds either nesting or with young chicks.

“The soil was dumped over the top of nests, waterbirds were observed panicked and flying in all directions.

“The situation that has unfolded is wrong and cruel and if it continues will result in the death of many waterbirds along with other fauna associated with the wetland.”

Responding to questions from Examiner Newspapers, DBCA said there was no direct evidence of offences specific to its legislation.

Examiner Newspapers understands the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) did not receive a clearing permit or clearing referral for Lot 201 Skeet Road, and is investigating a complaint related to the property.

“Questions regarding approvals of recent activity on Lot 201 Skeet Road should be directed to the relevant Local Government,” a State Government spokesperson said.

The City of Armadale, however, was apparently unaware the works were taking place until they were contacted by a local resident.

“These wetlands are important ecological areas and breeding sites for rare and endangered waterbirds and should be treated respectfully,” Mayor Ruth Butterfield said.

“While City officers are investigating this event with a planning compliance lens, I really hope the appropriate state government agencies look into what is happening to better understand the impacts this will have on the environment and community.”

Ms Zappelli says she will continue to seek answers and is awaiting legal advice on the matter.

Yolk Property Group did not respond to questions before deadline.