LAWYER and former Fremantle MP Adele Carles has got stuck into Fremantle council over an expanded weed slashing and spraying program at the old South Fremantle tip site.
In a letter to mayor Brad Pettitt, Ms Carles said the council hadn’t been upfront with residents about the changes to its “bushfire readiness” works on the site, where it’s planning for a solar farm.
“The letter says that the city undertakes these works every year,” Ms Carles wrote.
“This is incorrect.
“I have lived on the tip boundary for nearly 18 years and the city has never proposed to clear the site in this manner.”
Ms Carles said expanded firebreaks, tree removal and extra slashing could send contaminated dust into neighbouring suburbs, while the expanded use of herbicides such as glyphosates “will expose the community to a new level of contamination risk”.
Brennan Street resident and council watcher Martin Lee says the council appeared to be readying the site for the solar farm before environmental approvals were put in place, describing it as an “act of bastardry” (see his letter page 4).
But the council says the annual maintenance had only varied “slightly” this year and had been worked out with the blessing of the state’s fire and emergency services department.
“The width of the firebreaks have been extended to be consistent with DFES guidelines regarding building/asset protection zones,” the council said in a statement cobbled together from the various departments that have been involved.
“The amended works allow for a higher cutting height of 100mm to further reduce soil disturbance and accommodates no mineral earth firebreaks.
“Mineral earth firebreaks would leave exposed soil and increase risk of wind-borne dust off the site to migrate to residences.”
The council says the slashing will only be to 10 centimetres so there will still be a limited ground cover.
Mr Lee and Ms Carles have written to the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service, asking it to intervene and prevent the council from undertaking any further works for the solar farm until it has investigated the site.
But the council says AQIS has never prevented it from removing vegetation and had even previously authorised the removal of waste by the council if certain conditions were met.
by STEVE GRANT