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Carabeen Avenue resident Susan McCann and Helena Valley Residents and Ratepayers Association president Rob Rowe in front of the lake.

Lake to make way for housing

By Rebecca Peppiatt

A group of Helena Valley residents are bitterly disappointed their efforts to save a man-made lake and wetlands have come to nothing as they will soon be destroyed to make way for housing.

Susan McCann, from Save the Lake and Wetlands in Helena Valley, has spent six years passionately advocating for the retention of an area at the end of Carabeen Avenue which she said is environmentally significant, supporting around 38 species of birds and long-necked tortoises.

In 2016, Shire of Mundaring councillors voted for the retention of the lake and surrounding wetlands as Public Open Space (POS) but their recommendations were ultimately ignored by the WA Planning Commission.

Mrs McCann was only made aware of the decision when works began on the development recently.

“Why don’t they listen to the community?

“It’s an asset to this community, not only environmentally but mentally as well,” Mrs McCann said.

“If we don’t do something now, what’s going to happen to the next generation?

“Eighty-six mature trees have been felled.

“If they’re going to do housing divisions, then a beautiful area like this has to be sustained for future generations.”

But a partner in the development, Daniel Stefanelli, said the lake is artificial, created by neighbouring land owners in 2006 and environmental studies found no evidence of long-necked tortoises in the vicinity.

“The Shire of Mundaring wanted the lake retained,” he said.

“But we provided arguments as to why it shouldn’t be and both sides were considered by the Department of Planning where it was ruled it wasn’t practical to retain the lake because it wasn’t viable environmentally.

“It doesn’t provide an ecological function to the area.”

Work has begun on stage one of the 11ha development, known as Allamanda Vista, which will eventually comprise 67 houses.

Mr Stefanelli said the site had been developed sympathetically and that he was happy to speak directly to anyone who had concerns.

“Over 40 per cent of the site will be provided as Public Open Space  and returned to foreshore,” Mr Stefanelli said.

“And we’re going to be redirecting the water from the pond back into the Helena River.”

But Mrs McCann said she felt let down by the authorities that oversee the planning decisions.

“I don’t understand their policies because their Liveable Neighbourhood Policy said things like this should be included but then they go against it,” she said.

“This to me is an environmental issue.

“It has to be saved, it’s a habitat, it’s a migrating ground for birds and if this gets lost, what’s going to happen to the next generation?

“What happens to their generation of the birdlife and the wildlife that’s here?”

Mrs McCann said she was trying to get the Environment Department to step in and do something to stop the lake from being lost, but fears she has now run out of options.

“It deserves much more than this,” she said.

About The Editorial Team

Echo News gives readers an alternative to other media outlets in WA and enjoys a very high rate of readership in its distribution area. Our Echo News team are a small group of devoted individuals who work hard to give the local community an easy to read, yet intelligent mix of local community stories.

One comment

  1. I am becoming more, and more disgusted with the way the Developers are getting away with the bulldozing of our beautiful Foothills, to make way for “Wall to Wall” housing. Houses on top of each other, packed in to as many per square meter as possible, with very little parking, leading to the streets covered in cars, very little back gardens for the children to play, and the complete loss of the trees, birds, and wildlife. It has happened here in Forrestfield, where the magnificent T.V. ads. boasted of a lifestyle amongst the trees/wildlife, and a beautiful creek– All gone to make way for the wall to wall concrete! I feel for those residents in Helena Valley who are also fighting to protect our Foothills, but am more than disgusted that the W.A. Planning Commission have ignored, not only the residents of the area, but the Local Council who voted against the development. These Developers have a lot to answer for.

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