By Aaron Kirby
There are fears plans to clear a large chunk of the endangered Banksia Woodlands conservation in Wellard for a sand mine will put local wildlife and residents at risk.
The area is home to two endangered species of native cockatoo and 48 residents.
Hanson Australia wants to bulldoze over 40 acres of land to supply sand for Perth’s building industry for the next 12 years.
The mine was first denied in 1995.
But in 2016, the company was given approval to mine at what is known as the Boomerang Road site next to the Banksia Road site by the former state government and the Serpentine-Jarrahdale council.
The Casuarina Wellard Progress Association claims Hanson Australia is using this as justification to mine the Banksia Road site, in the City of Kwinana, even though no work has been undertaken at the Boomerang Road site.
Both locations lay inside the Banksia Woodlands conservation zone.
Residents and wildlife experts are angry about the proposal.
The woodlands are home to over 100 native animals and plants and provide nesting areas for the critically endangered Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo and the local Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo.
Both species live in large tree hollows that can take between 100 and 200 years to develop.
Carnaby’s and Black Cockatoo Project Co-ordinator with Birdlife WA Adam Peck believes the mine will have negative effects for the birds.
He said the Banksia Woodland is a significant source of food and removing it could lead to the birds not breeding or even dying.
“The Perth population of Carnaby’s is declining by between five to ten per cent a year, and the main reason for that is habitat clearance,” said Peck.
The President of the Casuarina Wellard Progress Association Stephen Sturgeon is unimpressed by the mining plans.
“The Banksia Woodland is being eaten up at an alarming rate.”
He’s unconvinced by Hanson’s promise to revegetate the site.
“The reality is that it’s not a very successful practice and it’s also a very long-winded process.”
Sturgeon is also worried that if the area is mined, lead from the old shooting range will be disturbed and could enter the water table and residents’ water tanks.
Hanson has promised to take measures to ensure the residents’ safety.
But the residents aren’t convinced and believe the mine will drastically affect the value and saleability of their properties.
The City of Kwinana is strongly against the mine going ahead and will continue to back residents in their fight.