The West

Group ready to fight over reserve clearing
Group ready to fight over roadside reserve clearing Preston Environment Group spokesman Peter Murphy is concerned fauna and rare flora will be destroyed if the roadside reserve on Harris Road is cleared.

Environmental campaigners are prepared to stand in front of bulldozers if the Shire of Dardanup goes ahead with clearing a 4km stretch of roadside reserve.

The stretch of Harris Road near Waterloo Road, in an area known as Paradise Country, has received funding from the National Black Spot program to improve safety for road users.

Preston Environment Group spokesman Peter Murphy said the area proposed to be cleared was a “wildlife corridor’’ containing threatened and unknown flora species.

“The roadside reserves play an amazing role in this community by acting as windbreaks, helping with noise pollution, they cut out dust and they’re a habitat for flora and fauna,’’ Mr Murphy said.

He said the Preston Environment Group was launching a public awareness campaign and he anticipated people would “stand in the way of bulldozers’’ to stop any clearing.

Shire of Dardanup chief executive Mark Chester acknowledged the environmental value of the road reserve.

“The road reserve is primarily a road reserve, not a conservation reserve,’’ he said.

“Where possible the vegetation is left and we have a history of realigning the design to protect trees and other vegetation.

“Where we can and if it’s achievable we can go through the neighbouring property, however, this depends on the support of the landowner.’’

Mr Chester said council staff were working on a redesign of plans for 200m of the 4km stretch to avoid rare flora.

He said an 8m-10m wide strip would be cleared to ensure adequate drainage for the road.

Pink markers have already been placed along Harris Road indicating where the middle of the road will eventually be.

Mr Murphy said the council had been “reckless’’ in the way it had dealt with other roadside reserves in the area.

“They’ve cleared important habitats that had possums in them,’’ he said.

“The ecological values of the area are being diminished by reckless decisions made by the Shire of Dardanup.’’

He said the Preston Environment Group had been offered a meeting with the council, but he was still waiting on a date to be set.

Mr Chester said the council would meet the Preston Environment Group once a design for the work was finished.

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