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AWPC writes to Melbourne Water re threat to de-tree Lee St retardant basin wildlife corridor

The Australian Wildlife Protection Council has written a letter to Melbourne Water, David Fairbridge, Frankston, and Lisa Neville, the Victorian Minister for the Environment, about a plans to remove mature trees from a wildlife corridor on the batters of a retardant basin in Frankston. They have received concern from the local community members that the threat of flooding to the local community at the Lee St retarding basin has not deemed a risk in the past and believe the proposed clearance of vegetation is excessive and will have significant impact on fauna as well as other issues, particularly of erosion and dust as well. They ask Melbourne Water a number of questoins and note that they expect that every possible measure will be undertaken to see if in fact clearing is necessary and if so that appropriate actions are taken and that local wildlife shelters are not left too pick up the pieces of poor planning.

Letter from Craig Thomson, President Australian Wildlife Protection Council, (AWPC)
Dated 23 January 2017.

Subject: Lee st Retarding Basin Frankston

Addressed to: David.Fairbridge@frankston.vic.gov.au (biodiversity officer at Frankston Council), lisa.neville@parliament.vic.gov.au (Minister for Police and Water) rbupgrades@melbournewater.com.au (email address for Melbourne Water retardant basin upgrades).

The Australian Wildlife Protection Council understands and recognise the needs to protect our communities from potential danger. We are also aware that the removal of vegetation has an impact on wildlife species. In fact it is a guarantee that wildlife will be killed during works that clear vegetation. As such we expect that every possible measure is undertaken to see if in fact clearing is necessary and if so that appropriate actions are taken and that local wildlife shelters are not left too pick up the pieces of poor planning.

We have received concern from the local community members that the threat of flooding to the local community at the Lee St retarding basin has not deemed a risk in the past and believe the proposed clearance of vegetation is excessive and will have significant impact on fauna as well as other issues, particularly of erosion and dust as well. So the Australian Wildlife Protection Council would greatly appreciate if you could answer the following questions;

-What pre-fauna surveys have been carried out and when?

-What species have been identified on site?

-What are the actions have been put into place for fauna pre, during and post construction activities for fauna?

-Which wildlife rescue groups, wildlife shelters and vets have been contacted to look after or treat any injured wildlife?

-What arrangements have been made to financially compensate these groups?

-Do local wildlife shelters have the capacity to look after injured wildlife, as they could be attending to heat stress events or bushfire effected wildlife?

-What measures have been taken to install nest boxes or other artificial habitat for displaced wildlife?

-Do they have appropriate wildlife handling permits as well as permits to have protected wildlife euthanised if injured or unable to relocate wildlife in a safe distance from their habitat loss?

-What community groups have they contacted to work with as stated in their community information sheet? [Ref: ] “We understand the importance of trees to the local community and are committed to working closely with council, residents and community groups to develop an appropriate plan for reinstatement of trees else where in the area” in the information document provided for this project https://www.melbournewater.com.au/sites/default/files/2018-01/Communitybulletin-LeeStreet.pdf

-Where are other trees being planted, what species are to be planted and how many?

-Are offsets being provided?

-Is there an arborist report of the trees health?

-Can records of water depth be provided for the Lee St retarding basin to show threat of flooding to neighbouring properties over the years of its existence?

-Can modelling or records be provided of local flooding for once in a 40+ year storm event?

-What are the EPA regulations you are keeping to with to for this project?

-Can you provide a copy of the ANCOLD guidelines?

The Australian Wildlife Protection Council also has the understanding that you are in the process of selling off land on McClelland Dve to Ambulance Victoria for an ambulance station and another permit application has been made by Log Cabin Caravan Park. In fact we believe that all land owned by Melbourne Water from Skye Rd to Frankston/Cranbourne Rd is being considered surplus land by Melbourne Water. So it appears there are several sites across the Frankston city council municipality owned by Melbourne Water that poses a potential loss of biodiversity.

So the final question we have to you is what is Melbourne Water’s commitment to biodiversity in Frankston?

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