Who owns and manages the Ashfield Flats Reserve?
The Western Australian Planning Commission owns approximately 64 hectares of land within Ashfield Flats and this land is currently managed by the Department of Planning, Lands & Heritage(DBCA). The Department of Water manages the open drains, and the Town of Bassendean manages the balance of the land.
When I provide feedback via the “Your Say Bassendean” website, who will receive the comments?
After the public comment period has closed all feedback provide will be submitted directly to the State Government Department of Planning Lands and Heritage for their consideration.
What is a Concept Plan?
The Concept plan is a proposal, for consideration as to what can and needs to be done to remediate the sensitive environment that relates to Ashfield Flats, while at the same time, recognising that the area is a popular recreation place for the local community. While some items of the plan are the subject to environmental approvals, other items relate to how the area can be improved for visitors and users of the Ashfield area. As the project progresses, issues such as fencing and path orientations will change, and this will involve input from the community and the outcome of research into what is working well and what needs to be revisited in terms of key environmental outcomes. While it is always intended that minimal disturbance and inconvenience, there will be times when certain areas will need to be screened off from access, while remediation works can be undertaken. This is necessary so that this important area can be preserved for current and future generations to continue to recreate in and enjoy.
Why is a Concept Plan required for Western Australian Planning Commission owned land at Ashfield Flats?
For many years the WAPC has received significant comment from members of the community and key stakeholders about the need to address issues in respect to the protection of the unique environment that makes up Ashfield Flats. While the WAPC has sought to undertake a range of remediation works, these, due to funding constraints, have been largely limited to land management exercises including weed and fire management. These works did not however deal with addressing the key environmental concerns of Ashfield Flats, nor the deteriorating nature of the flood reserve. For this reason., a Works Program was developed to seek funding to address these areas, with the aim to put in place a 5 year program of works to help improve the environmental outcomes for Ashfield Flats and address the deteriorating conditions of the foreshore reserve. Given that Ashfield Flats is owned by a number of parties including the WAPC, Water Corporation and Town of Bassendean, it is recognised that any works, cannot be done in isolation and that joint approach needs to be undertaken and why the Works Program was developed.
What are the benefits of the draft Ashfield Flats Reserve Concept Plan?
The Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage as interim land manager is proposing remediation works in Ashfield Flats Reserve with the aim of rehabilitating degraded areas. The project will be delivered in partnership with the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, Water Corporation and local community groups.
What works will initially be undertaken in Stage 1?
The Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage has funding available to commence stage 1 of the works program which involves a Hydrological Study, a Foreshore Management Plan and the relocation of the existing path along with controlled pedestrian access to protect the Swan River foreshore.
All of the Stage 1 works are subject to the Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions providing a Section 7 Permit.
It should be noted that it is not intended to commence constructing any fencing or path until the feedback from the community is received, this is because it was agreed that the community feedback would be encouraged and used to refine the draft concept plan. The Hydrological Study has commenced as this is a critical component of the project as it will inform the foreshore rehabilitation works. The hydrological study is expected to take two years to complete
The Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage priority is to undertake the foreshore restoration by initially constructing a temporary path and fence, with the aim that a final path is to be constructed once the outcome of the Hydrological Study is to hand to assist and inform the Foreshore Management Plan.
Why can’t Ashfield Flats just be left alone?
Undertaking a range of rehabilitation projects now, in consultation with the local community, is felt to be the best way to achieve good environmental outcomes. It is also the right thing to do, as in the end we all have an interest in this land and a responsibility for ensuring good stewardship going forward. Ashfield Flats Reserve contains areas of high conservation value including 20.45 hectares of temperate saltmarsh, which is a threatened ecological community. Temperate saltmarsh is recognised as an ecosystem of high ecological value increasingly under threat, including from altered hydrological regimes. Doing nothing is likely to result in protection orders being issued in respect to these area. This is not a preferred outcome of the Department.
Has Aboriginal Consultation been undertaken?
The Department has consulted with the Aboriginal Heritage in respect to the current works proposed. Ongoing consultation with aboriginal heritage is intended as the project progresses through the various stages.
I’m a recreational fishing person/ dog walker/ bush walker - If the proposed Concept Plan is implemented, how will it affect my use of the reserve?
Any disruption is intended to be minimal. Areas will be clearly identified for the use of the various interest groups and their use encouraged. However, there will be areas where environmental outcomes, will require a more sensitive approach to be developed. In these areas, access will need to be more carefully planned eg. identified pathways, controlled access points etc., not to restricting access to the public, but to ensure that the access is more appropriate recognising the critical environmental nature of that area. Appropriate signage will be included in these areas so that users will be made aware of the reasons behind the access arrangements and why it is being done.
What has been the extent of consultation already undertaken with State Government agency and community groups in order to prepare the draft Ashfield Flats Reserve Concept Plan and Works Program?
The Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage has undertaken consultation with the Department of Water, Town of Bassendean and the approving authority for the works, the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA), as well as various volunteer groups. As with any complex project with multiple stages, it is anticipated the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage will undertake further consultation as each milestone approaches. This is necessary to ensure that community input is obtained and will help to inform key design aspects of the project, as well as keeping all parties appraised in respect to the positive environmental and built form outcomes that are being achieved.
Tell me more about Ashfield Flats
Ashfield Flats Reserve represents the largest remaining river wetland in the Perth Metropolitan Area and covers approximately 64 hectares. This reserve is listed as a Bush Forever Site No. 214 and is listed in the Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia.
The site consists of an escarpment, floodplains and the river foreshore and has vegetation from the Swan Complex, consisting of Melaleuca dominated wetlands, samphire flats and Eucalyptus rudis woodlands.
The floodplain reaches up to 1km in width at Ashfield Flats Reserve. A major section of Ashfield Flats is within the 100-year flood fringe although inundation of the low-lying land follows heavy rain.
The reserve also receives a large proportion of the Ashfield and Bassendean stormwater from urban and industrial sources. The groundwater hydrology of the area has likely been altered due to groundwater use and contamination upstream in the catchment.
Ashfield Flats Reserve contains two main drains that are managed by the Water Corporation. The Chapman Street drain has a 295 ha catchment area and Kitchener Street drain has a 30 ha catchment area, both of which flow directly into, and affect the water quality of, the Swan River. Both drains are believed to intercept groundwater. Water quality at Chapman Street drain is monitored fortnightly as part of Swan Canning catchment monitoring program. The data is available for download from the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation Water Information Reporting tool, under project name "CSMDREID".
The drains and their associated levees are believed to be significantly altering the hydrology of the site and therefore the structure of existing plant communities with western plant communities receiving less tidal incursion and interaction with saline river water. Eastern plant communities are believed to receive less fresh water because it is intercepted by the drains and channelled directly into the river.
Ashfield Flats Reserve also contains a 20.45 ha temperate saltmarsh threatened ecological community. Temperate saltmarsh is recognised as an ecosystem of high ecological value increasingly under threat, including from altered hydrological regimes.