Plea for people to look after ‘Capel’s Kings Park’

Emily AceSouth Western Times

Capel shire engineering environmental officer Rae McPherson is calling on the community to help stop illegal rubbish dumping and vehicle access in an area of protected bushland.

Heavy duty fencing has been installed to stop the illegal access of the banksia woodland on Bussell Highway between Lakes Road and Harewoods Road in an ongoing effort to protect one of the Capel Shire Council’s most environmentally sensitive bushland reserves.

Ms McPherson said the council together with the community had made numerous attempts, over more than two decades, to stop vehicles illegally accessing the woodland.

She said it was hoped that the heavy duty fencing and gates would stop the destruction of the most important habitats for the black cockatoos and ringtail possums in the Capel shire.

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“At this point we are calling on the community to become a neighbourhood watch for this area, as it is Capel shire’s equivalent to Perth’s Kings Park and we would really like to see it restored,” Ms McPherson said.

“Unfortunately hoons in four-wheel-drives and motorbikes have been illegally accessing this bushland and potentially spreading dieback for many years.

“It is disappointing that people can’t see the damage they are doing by these careless acts and we are calling on the community to help us combat this destructive behaviour.”

Stratham Progress Association member Michele Jenkins, who also co-owns Stratham Retreat, pleaded with the public to help keep the reserve beautiful.

“It is a large open space for the community and at the moment you are walking around and seeing rubbish randomly dumped,” she said.

“We also occasionally have people decide they can come and collect firewood in the winter which is also a shame because we need to protect what we have.”

Ms Jenkins said the rubbish dumping had been a long running concern for the association and hoped the preventative measures would bring about change.

“Anything the community can do to help stop this or let the right people know it is happening is fantastic,” she said.

“Please keep our local reserve beautiful so locals can enjoy it and visitors can enjoy it too – it is a natural resource for the area and it’s a shame not to see it used to its best advantage.”

Residents can report any vehicles seen inside the gates using the Snap Send Solve App, at any time, or by phoning the council’s Community Rangers on 0417 953 959 during office hours or between 9am and 3pm on weekends.

Illegal dumping is an offence which carries a maximum fine of $125,000 for corporations and $62,500 for individuals.

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