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Yet more problems for persecuted cockatoos - West Australia

Fini Developer & City of Gosnells West Oz hard on near-extinct Black Cockatoos in Rehab

Glenn Dewhurst, of the Black Cockatoo Conservation Team in West Australia feels harassed and almost despairs in the face of complaints from a developer who lives next door to the 12 Acre Black Cockatoo Rehab facility in Martin, W.A., which Glenn has dedicated years of his life to constructing.

West Australian Black Cockatoos in Rehab enjoying nuts

The developer, David Fini, of David Fini Developments, has complained about noise from nesting birds, Glenn says. Glenn cannot understand why since, he says, only two birds have been born in the rehab facility. "They were accidents. It is not meant to be a breeding facility; it is for rehab. We free the birds when they are well, we don't breed them."

Mr Dewhurst says that Mr Fini has also complained about workers there picking native nuts to feed the birds.

Glenn says, "The collection of nuts is wide and varied, usually covering up to 100kms at a time. We never pick in the same spot and only 20% of any nuts. We have permits. Some weekends we have travelled over 350kms to get food for these birds. It is very important to have the native food and critical for their rehabilitation."

"Mr Fini has complained about the volunteers visiting the rehab centre, too", says Glenn Dewhurst, "Although there are only four volunteer workers at any one time."

In addition, Mr Fini has complained about the noise from the cockatoos that are being rehabilitated.

Glenn Dewhurst says that he does not believe that noise levels greater than those from wild birds in the area can be shown to be coming from the birds his team are rehabilitating.

He says that there are many more wild birds than the few black cockatoos in rehab.

More Noise from wild birds in Perth caused by birds displaced by developers

He explains that the numbers of wild birds moving in and out of the Perth area are constantly increasing because they are being displaced by developers like Mr Fini. "The wild birds don't have enough to eat and so more and more of them are trying to find food in the same place, wherever there are a few trees."

Despite Mr Dewhurst's impression that the Black Cockatoo Rehab Facility is being targeted unfairly, the Black Cockatoo Conservation Team find the local Council seems reluctant to stand up for the Cockatoos.

Council Inflexibility and unhelpfulness could kill these rare rescued birds

The Black Cockatoo Conservation Team say that they have asked the council and Mr Fini to allow them to adopt mitigation strategies which Mr Dewhurst believes have not even been stated in the report to council for the Tuesday meeting. "I have been told that the planner Andrew Bratley has only nominated 3 strategies and recommended that the strategies are refused."

"Ninety-five per cent of the birds will be moved to the other center, when it is ready. The other center is also in Martin and is called Kaarakin, and is located at 1.5km from the 'clone' facility which is the facility that is the source of Mr Fini's complaints."

"If the new facility isn’t ready these endangered cockatoos will be at critical risk. The Shire and the Developer seem to intend not to give the facility any time," says Glenn.

The Team are therefore desperately trying to move the cockatoos at the Martin facility to their other Kaarakin facility, which the Council made available to them some time ago for a pepper-corn rent. Ironically, however, the Council is inexplicably delaying a survey that is necessary before the cockatoos can be moved in.

Glenn writes, "We have fought hard to do what we do; I have personally given all my energy and strength to bring the plight of these birds to every Australian and beyond. I at times have put the birds before my beautiful family and they have been very patient with me, allowing me to follow my passion in saving these endangered birds.

In the five years of her life, my five-year-old has only been on two very short holidays down south. My three and one-year-old have only been on holiday once. Andrea and I spend every spare cent on these birds and she even agreed for us to cancel a holiday to visit her parents overseas, so that we could deal with issues relating to the endangered Black Cockatoos.

We now need your help to help us save the facility that has saved so many endangered Black Cockatoos, Please help any way you can."

These people may have some power to change this situation:

DEADLINE TUESDAY 14TH JULY -

Ian COWIE CEO City of Gosnells, icowie[AT]gosnells.wa.gov.au
Donna Faragher, Minister for the Environment Youth, Minister.Faragher[AT]dpc.wa.gov.au
Premier Colin BARNETT, wa-government[AT]dpc.wa.gov.au
Honourable Brendon GRYLLS MLA, Minister.Grylls[AT]dpc.wa.gov.au

So many contradictions in government behaviour

Glenn says the contradictions are a source of stress in themselves. He describes how, in April 2008, the City of Gosnells gave him a letter of support for the BCCT facility that they now want removed - at the request of the West Australian Department of Environment and Conservation. Only a few months ago, the same government's Minister for Environment had congratulated the BCCT on getting Land for Wildlife for these endangered cockatoos.

"We have all worked so hard for the sake of these special endangered Birds. We cannot lose this fight to the City of Gosnells and Mr Fini, as it is a fight for the survival of these birds. If we lose our 'clone' (secondary) facility then the City of Gosnells may be implicated for the demise of the endangered Black Cockatoo."

“Yes”, says Dewhurst, “The City of Gosnells has given us another facility on a pepper corn rental, for which we are thankful. We are not, however, allowed to build there unless we meet the normal conditions of building approvals. Although we should have no problem in meeting these, we are still awaiting the carrying out of the survey necessary before we can make our application.

"The City of Gosnells is responsible for the survey and for the delay. Because of these delays, we cannot even move the birds in the near future."

"We have also encountered personal hardship over this matter and have felt that we are being persecuted. For instance, Andrea and I believe that we have been subject to allegations of financial impropriety from a councilor at the City of Gosnells and from FINI Developments. To defend our good name we engaged an auditor at the cost $3.500, which we put on our personal credit cards. The complete audit showed no financial mismanagement. We are now in debt and it will take us about four months to pay this off. We estimate that the councilor in question has cost our organization $46,000 because of his allegations which have all been proven false.

Scale of the Conservation Facilities

This rescue attempt of an endangered species is no small affair. Glenn and his team are managing a wildlife rescue of international significance which has taken hundreds of thousands of dollars and many volunteer hours to run. The stakes are enormous for the birds, for their carers, for Australia and the world. At least two large facilities are required. Because of the amount of land and building involved simply to keep these birds, alive, safe and then to prepare them for release, closing down one facility before the other is opened would almost certainly have appalling consequences. Some of those consequences would be financial, of course, but the worst ones would be irreversible species decline, not to mention the extreme discouragement of the workers involved and the message this sends to children, Australians and the world. How sad if we were to lose these amazing, long-lived wise and funny creatures because a council had difficulty understanding the significance of the conservation program. This is not like a development that gets held up and costs some investors money; it is like destroying a part of Eden, never to recover.

Why the Black Cockatoos require two facilities

Mr Dewhurst says that the Black Cockatoo organisation requires 2 facilities in Perth (another is 450km away) for the following reasons:

• some of the injured and young birds require round the clock care. The Martin facilities can accommodate 24 hour volunteer care; and

• some of the research requires round the clock observation for the same reason. The Martin facility can accommodate this; and

• some of the birds housed at the Martin facilities are utilised for community educational purposes and are tame enough for people to interact with. These birds are also utilised by DEC for educational purposes. As these birds are valuable to the open market, for this reason they require secure facility; and

• having two facilities ensures protection from total disaster such as natural events like bushfires; and

• lastly, the Cohuna (Kaarakin) site requires major repairs. These are ongoing and have so far taken more than 7000 volunteer hours, which equates to a minimum of $200,000 in labour. The site is far from being the primary care facility. Currently it can only house around 30 birds.

Please consider emailing the following people who might help if they realise the significance of the problem

Ian COWIE CEO City of Gosnells, icowie[AT]gosnells.wa.gov.au
Donna Faragher, Minister for the Environment Youth, Minister.Faragher[AT]dpc.wa.gov.au
Premier Colin BARNETT, wa-government[AT]dpc.wa.gov.au
Honourable Brendon GRYLLS MLA, Minister.Grylls[AT]dpc.wa.gov.au

See also: http://blackcockatoorescue.com, Threatened West Aust Black Cockatoo gets help and Help save West Australian black cockatoo from extinction, phone Glen on 0417 988 872.

Comments

On Wednesday I had this tentative thumbs up from Glenn Dewhurst about the cockatoos:

"Sheila,
I think we had a win last night. We are able to keep all the aviaries on site under conditions set by the council.
I am unsure what conditions have been put upon us.
They said the minutes will be released Today at 12pm on the below link.
I will email tonight the results once I get to have a look.
Thanks again for all your support and that of your friends; I can say that they were over whelmed with the level of support.

Here is the link: http://www.gosnells.wa.gov.au/default-gosnells.asp

The minutes of the meeting are to be found here:http://www.gosnells.wa.gov.au/upload/gosnells/3BE3CF7EAAB64C4EBAADC8588B8BD715.pdf

My reading of the minutes is also cautiously optimistic although it looks like a lot of work and expense for Glenn over a short period of time. My main qualm is this requirement, "That the number of birds housed on the property be limited to the extent that the noise generated does not exceed the Environmental Protection (noise abatement regulations)." In view of the admission by the noise expert that wild cockatoos contribute to the noise from the caged cockatoos (in rehab, due to be freed) how would the 'appropriate' number of birds be estimated? Would there be any implication for the wild birds?

I have cut and pasted the bulk of the council decision below, minus some formatting:

"CONCLUSION
The proposal to retain the eight outbuildings already constructed with the exception of Outbuilding E, is supported for the following reasons:
• The as of right requirements of Town Planning Scheme No. 6 and Local Planning Policy 6.2.3 – Outbuildings – Rural and Residential Areas have not been met, however any negative impacts can be addressed through conditions
of approval.

• Noise emitted from the aviaries would comply with the Environmental Protection (Noise) Regulations 1997 if the existing Outbuilding E is relocated and modified in accordance with the recommendations of the noise consultant.

• The outbuildings are not considered to have a detrimental impact on the visual
amenity of the local area.

Item 17.1 Continued
23 of 115
The proposal to construct an additional outbuilding is not supported for the following reasons:

• The proposed outbuilding would result in an aggregate outbuilding floor area on the subject property of 885m², which is considered to be excessive within the Rural zone.

• Noise emitted from the part of the proposed outbuilding to be used for the care of sick and injured birds is likely to have a detrimental impact on the amenity of the adjoining property.

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS
Nil.
STATUTORY IMPLICATIONS
• Town Planning Scheme No. 6 Clause 9.2 and 11.2.
• Local Planning Policy 6.2.3 – Outbuildings – Rural and Residential Areas
• The Environmental Protection (Noise) Regulations 1997 – Regulation 5 (2)(b)
VOTING REQUIREMENTS
Simple majority required.
STAFF RECOMMENDATION (1 of 4)
Moved Cr PM Morris Seconded Cr R Mitchell
That Council grant retrospective approval for seven outbuildings with an
aggregate floor area of 451m² at 49 (Lot 100) Douglas Road, Martin,
identified as Outbuildings A, B, C, F, G, J and K as contained in
Attachment A, subject to the following conditions:
1. A landscaping plan for the development site is to be submitted in accordance with the City’s development landscaping policy and approved by the City’s Technical Landscape Officer. The plan is to show how all outbuildings are to be screened from the view of Lot 101 Douglas Road. Such Landscaping is to be installed within 3 months of the date of this approval and maintained by the owner/occupier to the satisfaction of the City’s Landscape Technical Officer.

2. The submission of a lighting plan for the subject property, which is to be approved by the City’s Manager of Technical Services, prior to the issue of a Building Licence.

3. The approved outbuildings are not to be used for habitation, commercial or industrial purposes.

4. Stormwater drainage from the outbuildings is to be contained on site.

5. A Demolition Licence is to be obtained for the removal of the existing unauthorised outbuilding in the general location of Outbuilding D as contained in Attachment A to the satisfaction of the City’s Manager Building Services.

STAFF RECOMMENDATION (2 of 4)
Moved Cr PM Morris Seconded Cr R Mitchell That Council refuse to grant approval to the proposed outbuilding of
256m2 depicted in the location of Outbuilding D on the plan contained in Attachment A at 49 (Lot 100) Douglas Road, Martin and as submitted in revised plans received on 25 May 2009, for the following reasons:

1. The proposed floor area of 256m² would result in an aggregate outbuilding floor area on the property of 885m², which is considered to be excessive within the Special Rural zone.

2. The proposed outbuilding is proposed to be used for the keeping of birds, but has not been included within the noise assessment conducted on the property. Given that the proposed outbuilding is closer to the dwelling on the adjacent Lot 101 Douglas Road than the existing aviary, which has been identified as requiring relocation or remediation measures to reduce noise impacts, it is considered that the proposed outbuilding has potential to
adversely impact on the amenity of the neighbouring property

STAFF RECOMMENDATION (3 of 4)

Moved Cr PM Morris Seconded Cr R Mitchell

That Council refuse to grant retrospective approval to the 10m2 outbuilding identified as Outbuilding E on the plan contained in Attachment A at 49 (Lot 100) Douglas Road, Martin and require the following actions to be undertaken within 90 days:

1. Relocate the outbuilding to the north-western side of the subject property to the satisfaction of the Manager Planning Implementation.

2. The outbuilding to be reorientated so that only its enclosed sides are facing south.

3. The outbuilding is to be enclosed with Colorbond cladding on two sides and the roof.

4. The outbuilding is to be insulated to the satisfaction of the Manager Health Services.

STAFF RECOMMENDATION (4 of 4)

Moved Cr PM Morris Seconded Cr R Mitchell

That Council advise the applicant that a Building Application is to be lodged providing scaled drawings of each of the buildings for which retrospective planning approval has been granted and of the relocated Outbuilding E, to the satisfaction of the Manager Building Services.

Amendment
During debate Cr R Hoffman moved the following amendment to staff recommendation (4 of 4):

“That staff recommendation (4 of 4) be amended by inserting after the word “services” where it appears in the last line, the following:

“with such application to be lodged, along with the relevant application fees, with the City within 60 days of this meeting”.

Cr R Hoffman provided the following written reason for the proposed amendment:

“To provide clear guidance to the applicant as to when the application is to be lodged.”

Cr J Brown Seconded Cr R Hoffman’s proposed amendment.

The Mayor put Cr R Hoffman’s proposed amendment, which reads:

Moved Cr R Hoffman Seconded Cr J Brown

That staff recommendation (4 of 4) be amended by inserting after the word “services” where it appears in the last line, the following:

“with such application to be lodged, along with the relevant application fees, with the City within 60 days of this meeting”.

with the amended recommendation to read:

“That Council advise the applicant that a Building Application is to be lodged providing scaled drawings of each of the buildings for which retrospective planning approval has been granted and of the relocated Outbuilding E, to the satisfaction of the Manager Building Services, with such application to be lodged, along with the relevant application fees, with the City within 60 days of this meeting”.

CARRIED 10/0

FOR: Cr B Wiffen, Cr S Iwanyk, Cr J Brown, Cr R Hoffman, Cr C Fernandez,
Cr W Barrett, Cr P Morris, Cr T Brown, Cr R Mitchell, and Cr O Searle.

AGAINST: Nil.
The amendment was put and carried with the amendment becoming the substantive motion. The Mayor then put the substantive motion, which reads:

COUNCIL RESOLUTION
313 Moved Cr R Hoffman Seconded Cr J Brown

That Council advise the applicant that a Building Application is to be lodged providing scaled drawings of each of the buildings for which retrospective planning approval has been granted and of the relocated Outbuilding E, to the satisfaction of the Manager Building Services, with such application to be lodged, along with the relevant application fees, with the City within 60 days of this meeting.

CARRIED 10/0
FOR: Cr B Wiffen, Cr S Iwanyk, Cr J Brown, Cr R Hoffman, Cr C Fernandez,
Cr W Barrett, Cr P Morris, Cr T Brown, Cr R Mitchell, and Cr O Searle.
AGAINST: Nil.

Additional Motion

During debate Cr R Hoffman moved the following additional motion to the staff recommendations:

“That the number of birds housed on the property be limited to the extent that the noise generated does not exceed the Environmental Protection (noise abatement regulations).”

Cr R Hoffman provided the following reason for the motion:

“Key issue of concern is the noise generated from the keeping of these birds on the property”.

Cr B Wiffen seconded Cr R Hoffman’s additional motion.

The Mayor then put the staff recommendations which read:

STAFF RECOMMENDATION (1 of 4) AND COUNCIL RESOLUTION 314 Moved Cr PM Morris Seconded Cr R Mitchell

That Council grant retrospective approval for seven outbuildings with an aggregate floor area of 451m² at 49 (Lot 100) Douglas Road, Martin, identified as Outbuildings A, B, C, F, G, J and K as contained in Attachment A, subject to the following conditions:
1. A landscaping plan for the development site is to be submitted in accordance with the City’s development landscaping policy and approved by the City’s Technical Landscape Officer. The plan is to show how all outbuildings are to be screened from the view of Lot 101 Douglas Road. Such Landscaping is to be installed within 3 months of the date of this approval and maintained by the owner/occupier to the satisfaction of the City’s Landscape Technical Officer.

2. The submission of a lighting plan for the subject property, which is to be approved by the City’s Manager of Technical Services, prior to the issue of a Building Licence.

3. The approved outbuildings are not to be used for habitation, commercial or industrial purposes.

4. Stormwater drainage from the outbuildings is to be contained on site.

5. A Demolition Licence is to be obtained for the removal of the existing unauthorised outbuilding in the general location of Outbuilding D as contained in Attachment A to the satisfaction of the City’s Manager Building Services.

CARRIED 10/0
FOR: Cr B Wiffen, Cr S Iwanyk, Cr J Brown, Cr R Hoffman, Cr C Fernandez,
Cr W Barrett, Cr P Morris, Cr T Brown, Cr R Mitchell, and Cr O Searle.
AGAINST: Nil.
STAFF RECOMMENDATION (2 of 4) AND COUNCIL RESOLUTION 315 Moved Cr PM Morris Seconded Cr R Mitchell

That Council refuse to grant approval to the proposed outbuilding of 256m2 depicted in the location of Outbuilding D on the plan contained in Attachment A at 49 (Lot 100) Douglas Road, Martin and as submitted in revised plans received on 25 May 2009, for the following reasons:

3. The proposed floor area of 256m² would result in an aggregate outbuilding floor area on the property of 885m², which is considered to be excessive within the Special Rural zone.

4. The proposed outbuilding is proposed to be used for the keeping of birds, but has not been included within the noise assessment conducted on the property. Given that the proposed outbuilding is closer to the dwelling on the adjacent Lot 101 Douglas Road than the existing aviary, which has been identified as requiring relocation or remediation measures to reduce noise impacts, it is considered that the proposed outbuilding has potential to
adversely impact on the amenity of the neighbouring property

CARRIED 10/0

FOR: Cr B Wiffen, Cr S Iwanyk, Cr J Brown, Cr R Hoffman, Cr C Fernandez, Cr W Barrett, Cr P Morris, Cr T Brown, Cr R Mitchell, and Cr O Searle.
AGAINST: Nil.

STAFF RECOMMENDATION (3 of 4) AND COUNCIL RESOLUTION 316 Moved Cr PM Morris Seconded Cr R Mitchell

That Council refuse to grant retrospective approval to the 10m2 outbuilding identified as Outbuilding E on the plan contained in Attachment A at 49 (Lot 100) Douglas Road, Martin and require the following actions to be undertaken within 90 days:

1. Relocate the outbuilding to the north-western side of the subject property to the satisfaction of the Manager Planning Implementation.

2. The outbuilding to be reorientated so that only its enclosed sides are facing south.

3. The outbuilding is to be enclosed with Colorbond cladding on two sides and the roof.

4. The outbuilding is to be insulated to the satisfaction of the Manager Health Services.

CARRIED 10/0
FOR: Cr B Wiffen, Cr S Iwanyk, Cr J Brown, Cr R Hoffman, Cr C Fernandez, Cr W Barrett, Cr P Morris, Cr T Brown, Cr R Mitchell, and Cr O Searle.
AGAINST: Nil.
The Mayor then put Cr R Hoffman’s additional motion, which reads:

COUNCIL RESOLUTION
317 Moved Cr R Hoffman Seconded Cr B Wiffen
That the number of birds housed on the property be limited to the extent that the noise generated does not exceed the Environmental Protection (noise abatement regulations).

CARRIED 10/0
FOR: Cr B Wiffen, Cr S Iwanyk, Cr J Brown, Cr R Hoffman, Cr C Fernandez,
Cr W Barrett, Cr P Morris, Cr T Brown, Cr R Mitchell, and Cr O Searle.
AGAINST: Nil.
8:54 pm - Cr D Griffiths returned to the meeting.
The Mayor, upon the return of Cr D Griffiths to the meeting, advised that Council had endorsed the staff recommendations as contained in the Report.

8:55pm – Cr B Wiffen left the meeting.
8:56 pm - Cr B Wiffen returned to the meeting.