Summer Reading: Forward thinking

STATING the obvious is sometimes met with the question, “Why hadn’t it been thought of before?”

Such is the case with the proposal for the Melville Bird Sanctuary and Discovery Centre at Tompkins Park.

At the recent City of Melville AGM, The Alfred Cove Action Group put forward a motion that if the lease agreement with Urbnsurf should be cancelled, the council would seriously consider a proposal to establish the Melville Bird Sanctuary and Discovery Centre.

This proposal seeks to protect the unique and internationally important wildlife sanctuary – formed by the Alfred Cove A-Class Nature Reserve and the Swan Estuary Marine Park – which is home to 130 or so species of resident and migratory birds as well as diverse flora, fauna, and marine life including river dolphins.   

The proposal has been developed in consultation with the Swan Estuaries Reserves Action Group and supported by Bird Life WA, the Conservation Council of WA, and Cyclewest, the peak body for cycling in WA.

There is also a tremendous amount of community support for this proposal.

Melville Bowling Club would remain at its current site with no loss of amenities and members would be consulted about renovations.

The Discovery Centre will be situated at a mutually agreed location. An initial suggestion is that a second storey be added to the club for the centre and to accommodate future growth.

The club is used by about 12,000 people every year for non-bowling activities like weddings and meetings, and it will continue to be a venue for local organisations and community groups.

The pathway through the bird sanctuary will be straightened to remove dangerous bends that have caused accidents and injury to both cyclists and walkers.

North of the pathway will be re-vegetated to provide a wider foreshore buffer to address current erosion and provide a more effective wildlife corridor along the river, and “blinds” will be built to facilitate bird-watching and photography without disturbing the wildlife.  A low-footprint cafe in a retired Metro Car will be along the path where walkers and cyclists can take a break for a cuppa and friends can meet for morning tea.

Eco-tourism is high on the agenda of Tourism WA and this proposal is a perfect fit for that initiative. The Melville Bird Sanctuary and Discovery Centre will become a significant and unique intergenerational attraction for national and international tourists.

Melville residents will also enjoy the improved amenities at the sanctuary, and of course Melville council would be praised for implementing an initiative that promotes its vision of an environmentally responsible, age-friendly city.

by TOM LUBIN, Attadale

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