Birds flee park

RESIDENTS living around Frederic Baldwin Park in Kardinya say most of its birdlife has fled after a recent factory fire poisoned its lake and caused a mighty stink.

When Aussie Soap Supplies went up in flames back on October 9, melted fats and water from the fire hoses got into the stormwater drains and found their way to the park’s lake, even though it’s nearly a kilometre away.

Melville council CEO Marten Tieleman said as the fats started to break down, they were likely to have caused the smell which has driven many regular park-goers back indoors.

“We removed as much of the visible contamination as possible last week,” Mr Tieleman said.

“The city is continuing to work with the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions and the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation to determine any further actions required.”

Despite the works, the Chook received a tip that all the ducks had disappeared, so we flew back to the park where seven-year resident John Screen confirmed the avian exodus.

Mr Screen says the current pollution is only a short-term problem, but he believes it was exacerbated by Water Corp pumping water out of the lake just before the fire, a practice he says contributed to a botulism outbreak earlier this year that killed 50 of the ducks.

“There’s just not enough water in the lake, but the bloke from the Water Corp he just won’t listen,” Mr Screen said.

He believes the department is basing its actions on out-dated information.

“I live on the corner where there used to be flooding after big rains, but when they redeveloped the houses the ground level was raised up, so we haven’t had any flooding for years.”

Mr Tieleman confirmed the pollution from the fire could trigger another botulism outbreak, and says it’s down to warmer water, nutrient levels from decomposing vegetation, fertilisers or other causes.

“With summer approaching, warmer temperatures and decreasing water levels will increase the risk,” Mr Tieleman said.

“It is known that if wildlife mortalities are detected early enough and proper management technique are implemented quickly, illness or mortality may be reduced so the city will continue to monitor the lake and take action if any sick wildlife is observed.

“The public are encouraged to report any sightings to ensure prompt action can be taken.”

Mr Tieleman said while no wildlife deaths had been reported, he expected the pollution from the fire would have some impact.

By STEVE GRANT

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