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Proposed Peet Ltd Development on Brigadoon

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					       Proposed Peet Ltd Development Brigadoon




                                      Brigadoon
                        Home of Bell’s Rapids(The Avon Descent)

              Last remaining natural forested area abutting the Swan River

         Sits on the edge of the Darling Scarp at the entrance to the Avon Valley

Home of the endangered Carnaby’s and Forest-Red and vulnerable Baudin’s Black Cockatoo
Early Development History
     In 1984 Bond Corp were given approval for development in Brigadoon and commenced stage 1 and
     2. (Town Planning Scheme No 1 –amendment 119). Total lots not to exceed 390 and the Parks and
     Recreation reserve as shown on the structure plan being transferred to the National Parks Authority
     at the time of clearance of Stage 1 subdivision (final approval was given but parks and recreation land
     was NOT transferred).

     The 1989 Shire of Swan Special Rural Zone No 8A ‘Swan Special Rural Zone No 8A ‘Swan Valley
     Special Rural and Recreation’ (Brigadoon Estate) principal objective was:

     “to retain the high visual amenity and vegetation along the Darling ridge forming a link between
     John Forrest and Waylunga National Park”.

     Capping of lot numbers was introduced in recognition of the fire risk, fragility of the escarpment, land
     capability and capacity of the access road

            lot numbers for the Brigadoon Estate originally capped at 380 to 390 in TPS No 1 Amendment
             119
            increased to 427 in TPS No 9 Amendment No 45 (493 less 66 on Jumbuck Hill, not approved
             on account of terrain and fire risk)
            capping is still a requirement of TPS No 17
            development was not referred under the Commonwealth Memorandum




Peet Ltd Proposed Development
     214 lots on 450 hectares on the northern slopes of Brigadoon ranging in size from 1.5 hectares to
     5.05 hectares, with average size being just under 1.9 hectares.

     An additional 393 hectares is to be transferred back to the state for Parks and Recreation as per the
     conditions of the original structure plan (93 hectares has already been paid for in full by the state and
     is protected by a caveat).

     Differences between Stages 1 and 2

      Land mostly pastured farmland                       Land heavily forested with 100 year old trees

      Majority of area minimal fire risk                  Extreme fire risk

      No fire management plans, very little clearing      Mandatory fire management plans will result in
                                                          60% clearing

      Average lot size 4 hectares(stage 1)                Average lot size under 1.9 hectares


     The Gidgegannup/Brigadoon Place Plan recommends a minimum lot size of 4 hectares for Brigadoon.
Council Approval

     November 2007 City of Swan(COS) Councillors voted to defer approval so that the
     environmental issues brought to their attention through public deputation could be considered
     further.

     January 2008 COS CEO stated that all environmental issues raised by the community had been
     referred to DEC and that Council would now only consider planning issues.

     February 2008 Council voted unanimously to approve the development with no further
     assessment of the environmental issues.

Community Issues with the Approval Process

            FOI has shown that the environmental issues were not referred to DEC, besides DEC was
             not the referring entity and was not in a position to do anything.
            No site visit was made by Councillors. Councillors were wrongly informed that the land
             had been farmed and was largely cleared. Former Councillor and now Member for Swan
             Hills, Frank Alban, has since stated publicly that had he visited the site before approval,
             he would have voted against the development.
            Council made no recommendation that the development be referred to the
             Commonwealth on account of listed threatened species including the endangered
             Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo.



Referral to the Commonwealth

     In November 2007, the Brigadoon Progress Association made a third party referral to the
     Commonwealth.

     After much lobbying by the public and frequent requess by the Commonwealth EPBC, Peet Ltd
     eventually submitted a referral to the Commonwealth in June 2008.

Commonwealth Controlled Action

     The Commonwealth called for public comment in June 2008, and in response to the public comment
     and from their own observations, in July 2009 the Commonwealth deemed the proposed
     development to be a Controlled Action, requiring further assessment under the Commonwealth’s
     Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

     This assessment was to be driven by the proponent with the proponent addressing the following
     issues:

            Specification of the total amount of clearing required for the entire project site, inclusive of
             building footprints and fire management controls, and additional infrastructure such as
             sheds.
            Specification of the process individual landowners would need to undertake to clear areas on
             their lot in excess of housing pads and fire breaks.
            The conducting of surveys to determine whether or not the trees identified as identified as
             breeding habitat trees have been utilised by the Baudin’s or Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo for
             breeding purposes.
            The undertaking of surveys for the presence on the site of all listed species including but not
             limited to the Chuditch, the Black Flanked Wallaby and the Slender Tailflower and Curved
             Leaf Grevillea, together with analysis of their use of the site and methodology used.

     The Peet Ltd response was published on their website in December 2008, and the public were invited
     to comment once again.

The Public’s Issues with the Peet Ltd Proposed Development
            Over 50% of the vegetation would need to be cleared to meet with the requirements of
             the building footprints and fire management controls.
            The examination of the trees identified as breeding habitat trees was very perfunctory
             without the use of a cherry picker.
            Trappings of the listed threatened species was done outside of the seasons and at times
             when the species were unlikely to be sighted and/or trapped.
            Sightings of the Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo were conducted on an opportunistic basis,
             reporting occasional use of the site, whereas local residents, who have been conducting
             counts on a scientific basis through the WA Museum, have reported large flock size,
             regular use and breeding patterns of behaviour for both the Carnaby’s and the Forest-
             Red Tail Black Cockatoos.
            The environmental report was conducted by consultants appointed by the proponent,
             and was very limited and biased towards the developer.
            No scientific study has been made of the listed threatened species, for example, in the
             case of the Carnaby’s, of their food requirements and the cycle of the high yield female
             nuts provided by the red gums, nor have experts in the field been consulted.
            The site is mostly of very good to excellent and pristine vegetation, is rated extreme fire
             risk, and should never be developed.
            The bush fire safety measures of 100 metre setback from the bushfire risk, and a proper
             perimeter road around the development for areas of extreme fire risk have been
             dropped.

Peet Ltd’s Mitigation with the Commonwealth
     Peet Ltd, in their mitigation with the Commonwealth, have under stated the amount of clearing
     of vegetation that will be needed to comply with the fire management plan.

     Further, Peet Ltd have reduced the fire risk of the entire site to that of medium risk on the
     premise that future landowners would maintain the vegetation at a level of 4-6 tonnes per
     hectare, and by building to Australian Standard 3959.

     The vegetation is currently at a level of 8-10 tonnes plus over much of the site, and Peet Ltd
     propose reducing the vegetation by means of a cool burn, residents would then need to maintain
     the vegetation always at this level!

     Reducing the fire risk to medium level enables the developer to drop the bushfire safety
     measures of a 100 metre setback from the bush fire hazard, and a proper perimeter road around
     the development.
Building to AS 3959 reduces the risk of ember attack on buildings, however it does not reduce
the level of impact of the fire, which with the very steep and vegetated escarpment around three
sides of the development, would be extremely high.

Peet Ltd have further proposed through their mitigation with the Commonwealth an extensive
revegetation program inclusive of:

      1,000 eucalypt species on every individual lot, that is, a total of 214,000 seedlings
      Further revegetation of 10 hectares of degraded land, 60 hectares within the road
       reserves, and 100 hectares within the Parks and Recreation

This revegetation program does not equate with the clearing of vegetation to comply with the
fire management plan, and the community fear that it will put the lives of the new residents, the
existing residents and the fire fighters on the ground at risk.

The Brigadoon Progress Association has met with the Premier, Minister for Planning, Minister
for Emergency Services, Member for Swan Hills, FESA and the COS to voice their objections and
fears. It is of note that the Minister for the Environment has refused the community a meeting.
It would appear that our current State Government and local government decision makers, with
the exception of our Member for Swan Hills, have little interest in the environment and the
conservation of listed threatened and endangered species.

The Brigadoon Progress Association has also met with Peter Garrett, Federal Minister for the
Environment, who will make the final decision as to whether this development may proceed as
it now stands.

				
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posted:9/29/2011
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