Due to exams and the holiday season, our group has not held any meetings over the summer. However, the hot weather has not prevented some of us from actively working to promote the issue of Patawalonga Creek and its remnant vegetation.
Recent significant developments include the release of the Adelaide Airport Draft Master Plan and Draft Environmental Strategy documents. While these documents contain no substantively new information to that announced in the community consultations, their release marks the start of the formal 90 day period for public submissions. We need to use this opportunity to put forward our own views on the issues which concern us.
We have made contact with West Torrens Council officers and the Airport Environment Officer. They are very supportive of the existence of our group, and the 'Our Patch' concept; and they will assist with our participation in Clean Up Australia Day at the Patawalonga Creek site.
We have now reached the stage where the future structure, aims and activities of our group must be resolved (particularly for attracting grants). This must be done at at our next meeting.
The Draft Master Plan still makes provision for the third parallel runway (05L/23R). Even if air traffic growth continues at the projected 4% p.a., the capacity of the present main runway will not be exceeded until the period 2026-2037, well outside the scope of the present 20 year Plan.
In the meantime, most of the land west of Tapleys Hill Road will be zoned for low intensity recreational use. (Equestrian groups displaced from Breakout Creek want to use the land west of the Patawalonga Creek fenceline for a riding and jumping circuit.)
The Plan includes provision for commercial development along both sides of Tapleys Hill Road , but this must be of a "short term nature . . . to ensure development does not compromise the future use of portion of the designated land for a possible third runway".
The Draft Environmental Strategy recognises the need "to ensure the protection of rare and endangered . . . species".
On Wednesday (17/3/99), Trevor Starr, City Manager of West Torrens Council, gave a presentation to the Patawalonga Catchment Water Management Board on the flooding issues in the Council area, in particular that of the Airport Drain / Patawalonga Creek.
He announced that agreement had just been reached that morning between Council, Adelaide Airport Ltd and the State government, adopting Option 7 of the B.C. Tonkin report (but without re-alignment of West Beach Road).
This option involves retaining the Patawalonga Creek as the primary drainage channel and building two temporary storm-water detention ponds west of Tapleys Hill Road. The first would be on the north side of West Beach Road (the horse paddock); the second on the south side, replacing the silt ponds.
The ponds would be shallow, only 0.5-0.75 m deep, and designed to hold excess storm-water for only 8-24 hours, to avoid attracting birds. Some design details remain to be resolved, eg off-takes and outfalls.
Board member Rod Hook confirmed that the material in the silt ponds was ready to be removed "as soon as anyone wants it". At present there are two possibilities - as fill for the Pelican Point power station site, or for construction of another golf course to the south.
The National Trust of SA held a seminar last July, Significant Trees: Concerns and Challenges for Local Governments and their communities. For a number of reasons, our patch of Melaleuca halmaturorum would certainly qualify as significant for listing on the National Trust Register. However, this would be largely symbolic, since the SA National Parks & Wildlife Act 1972 and Native Vegetation Act 1991 do not apply to Commonwealth land.
The official results of our census last September have come back from the EPA. Two species were recorded (Common Froglet and Spotted Grass Frog). Other frogs previously known to exist in the West Beach area, including the Painted Frog, were not recorded. For information about these species and to hear their calls, see the EPA Frog Census website.
Last August a brief survey of the area by Ron Sandercock of the Coastal Management Branch (now part of the EPA) and Brian Webby of Tennyson Dunecare resulted in a list containing 21 native and 5 exotic species.
More recently Ben Moulton of Greening Australia, assisted by botanists Vicky Hagan and Rosemary Ferguson, have extended this list to a total of 49 species, including 31 natives, some with conservation significance. Their work to date suggests that more detailed surveys could result in further interesting discoveries.
Ben also suggested that the most prudent course of action may be to continue to restrict public access to the site, to prevent accidental damage. We will need to be very careful in our own activities and train our members in plant identification before carrying out rubbish removal, weeding, etc.
Greening Australia would like to help revegetate our site. They are already propagating material from Patawalonga Creek, on land made available by United Water, at the Glenelg Waste Water Treatment Plant. They have invited us to participate in these activities.
This year, Clean Up Australia Day will fall on Sunday, 7th March. Since one of the aims of our group is to look after the physical environment of the Creek, it is very appropriate for us to carry out our first clean-up on this day. The publicity this event generates should also help in raising the profile of our group.
We have already approached KESAB, the West Torrens Council and the Airport authorities, who are very enthusiastic about our participation. The Airport will give us access and Council will arrange for a skip to remove the rubbish collected.
Since early March can still be hot, an early start is needed. We will meet at 8 am, at the bus stop on West Beach Road (west of Tapleys Hill Road, and adjacent to the Creek and the silt ponds).
The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, 24 February 1999, 7:30 pm, at The Reedbeds Community Centre, cnr. Fitch & Halsey Roads, Fulham (carpark entry off Phelps Court).
The purpose of the meeting will be to discuss our aims and constitution, to set up the formal structure of the group (under the 'Our Patch' scheme, administered by the Patawalonga Catchment Water Management Board), and to elect officers.
An agenda will be available on the night of the meeting. For more information and to have input into the process, please contact the Editor.
Web version created 6th June 1999; last updated 11th April 2002.
This page maintained by Andrew Winkler for the Friends of Patawalonga Creek.
Please mail any comments or material for future issues to: The Editor
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