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Another of the park’s casualties, a dead Melaleuca (paperbark) tree.

Suddenly… a big park clean up

DEVELOPER LWP may be finally taking the concerns of local residents surrounding the deteriorating state of an Ellenbrook native park seriously, following a story published in last week’s Echo News.

In Residents question park spraying (Echo News, August 5) Ellenbrook residents Tina Lewis and Margaret Poole expressed their anger and disappointment at what they claimed was a glyphosate spill which hadn’t been cleaned up by LWP’s contractor.

At 7am on Friday morning last week a clean-up crew consisting of a team of Environmental Industries employees arrived and began attacking the park with whipper snippers and a large ride on slasher removing the dead and dying plants, trees and vegetation.

Environmental Industries claimed through Lorelei Campbell, a spokeswoman for LWP, that the spill was not glyphosate but was instead the blue dye that is mixed with glyphosate.

The spokeswoman said the ‘bigfoot blue dye’ is used by their contractors and approximately 5ml of this is added to each backpack and the non-hazardous dye is used as a marker to show where glyphosate has been sprayed.

She added that they denied the park had deteriorated due to glyphosate spraying and that the dye disperses considerably when water is added.

“The park is a passive recreational space with its principal purpose being for drainage management, as such it is not reticulated with the maintenance objective being to keep it neat and tidy.”

The spokeswoman said the part of the park which is adjacent to The Broadway allows for an expansion of The Broadway and that this section of the park is maintained weekly.

“Our contractor, who maintains the park on our behalf, attends to the rear section of the park (facing Alcala Street) once a fortnight.

“This includes a rubbish pick, bulk rubbish removal, blowing down of the path and weed removal with weeds whipper-snipped in the first instance and then spray applied only as required.”

But Alcala Street resident Tina Lewis was quick to dispute the response made on behalf of the LWP contractor.

According to Mrs Lewis the images that they took clearly suggest the spill was larger than the contractor implied as the area of the spill was still substantial despite considerable rainfall.

Mrs Lewis also took umbrage at the park being described by the LWP spokeswoman as a transit corridor.

“It is not just a transit corridor,” she said.

“Only the small section adjacent to The Broadway has been set aside for this and the whole park, including the transit corridor is fully reticulated which begs the question if it is just for drainage purposes why reticulate?

“Water literally down the drain.

“Also why install picnic tables and benches and meandering pathways if it is just a transit corridor which makes no sense and the fact that blue dye is added to glyphosate is in itself an admission of the use of glyphosate.

“As far as maintaining the original integrity of the park that has long gone, it has been a slow poisoning, hopefully what little is left of the park will remain.”

Prominent environmentalist Jane Bremmer said that residents need to know their rights in instances such as these.

“There are laws in relation to the application of pesticides that all Local government authorities and contractors must abide by,” she said.

“The council responsible for Ellenbrook must have a record of the application and must provide information to locals who ask for it.

“If residents are concerned about spray drift on native species and their health they must lodge a formal complaint to their local government Environmental Health officer, then the Department of Health (pesticide safety branch) and if anyone has suffered any adverse reaction it must be documented in the APVMA’s adverse experience complaints process.”

By Andrew Carter

About Andrew Carter

I live locally in Ellenbrook and have now lived there for well over a decade. I’m a passionate and conscientious journalist and I enjoy using my colourful, lively style of writing to hopefully paint a verbal picture. I am environmentally minded and believe that it’s our responsibility in the media to report accurately, help make a difference to the community and if necessary to hold businesses, governments and individuals to account for their actions. I very much aspire to the Christiane Amanpour style of journalism of being truthful not neutral.

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