Fence damage a cost to ratepayers

Jacinta CantatoreHarvey-Waroona Reporter
Harvey shire manager of technical services Rick Lotznicker if frustrated the chains put in place to protect the bushland have once again been cut.
Camera IconHarvey shire manager of technical services Rick Lotznicker if frustrated the chains put in place to protect the bushland have once again been cut. Credit: Jacinta Cantatore/Jacinta Cantatore

Harvey Shire Council is looking at ways to prevent further damage to heavy duty fencing around bushland at the northern banks of the Collie and Brunswick rivers.

Access to the bushland near the Eastwell Road boat ramp between Barnes Avenue and Kingfisher Avenue was restricted to vehicles in late 2017 following reports of vegetation being damaged by vehicles accessing the area.

The land is made up of freehold shire land, reserves and land owned by the Western Australian Planning Commission.

Since the control measures were put in place numerous attempts have been made to damage the fencing to gain unauthorised access to the bushland.

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The locks and fencing wire are regularly cut and temporary access gained until shire staff can repair the damage.

Harvey shire manager of technical services Rick Lotznicker said money spent on the repairs was now exceeding several thousand dollars.

“We’re constantly repairing it,” he said of the heavy wire fencing.

“It costs ratepayers a lot of money, when we are just trying to protect the nature reserve and maintain the amenity of the area for the community.”

In December last year the council received a petition requesting that access to the Collie/Brunswick river junction area be reinstated.

Staff began exploring options to provide access to the area, proposing to install an access road viaBarnes Avenue between Mardo Avenue and Challenger Rise.

It was considered that the route would include the construction of a 4.5m wide compacted limestone track with barrier fencing both sides.

Mr Lotznicker said the area was selected because the only adjacent property was the Leschenault Catholic Primary School’s oval, so any vehicles entering or leaving the access road at night or on weekends would not be disturbing residents.

The council decided to liaise with the planning commission as the proposed route would traverse a portion of planning commission land.

Yet earlier this year another petition was sent to the council, this time opposing vehicle access to the river junction area.

Mr Lotznicker said shire staff were now in the position of trying to make both parties happy.

“The matters raised by both petitioners are currently being investigated by shire officers and a further report will be presented for council’s consideration in due course,” he said.

Because the matter is still under investigation no funding has been included in the 2019/20 budget for the proposal, meaning any lasting solution is more than 12 months away.

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