EPA agrees to development envelope changes

The EPA has recommended environmental approval, provided conditions to minimise effects on Carnaby’s black cockatoos and other wildlife are met, of the first stage of the Yanchep rail extension.

SOME changes to the Butler to Eglinton part of the Yanchep rail extension development envelope, requested by the Public Transport Authority have been agreed to by the Environmental Protection Authority.

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) said changes to the development envelope were made to avoid affecting several threatened ecological communities of  melaleuca huegelii – M. systena shrublands on limestone ridges that would have been affected by temporary access roads.

An EPA report on the Butler to Eglinton section released earlier this month said the proposed changes to the development envelope also resulted in the complete avoidance of the priority ecological community of tuart (eucalyptus gomphocephala) woodlands in the area.

The changes to the development envelope also reduced impact to black cockatoo habitat and two other the priority ecological communities.

“Section 43A of the EP Act provides that the EPA may consent to the proponent changing the proposal without a revised proposal being referred, if the EPA considers that the change is unlikely to significantly increase the impact that the proposal may have on the environment,’’ the report said.

“The EPA has consented to the changes to the development envelope on the basis that it considers that there is unlikely to be a significant increase in the environmental impact.’’

The Butler to Eglinton proposal – the construction and operation of a 7.3km extension of the existing Joondalup railway line from Butler station to Eglinton – was referred to EPA by the Public Transport Authority on February 12, 2018.

The proposal includes two new intermodal transit stations (rail, bus, park and ride, kiss and ride, walk and cycle) at Alkimos and Eglinton, bridge infrastructure and construction and access areas.

The EPA, which examined potential impacts on four key environmental factors – flora and vegetation, landforms, terrestrial fauna and social surroundings, concluded the proposal was environmentally acceptable and could be implemented subject to certain conditions.

The EPA has recommended conditions that include avoiding indirect impacts to specified occurrences of ‘Melaleuca huegelii – Melaleuca systena shrublands on limestone ridges, managing construction activities to minimise impacts to Carnaby’s black cockatoos and other terrestrial fauna and the requirement of an environmental management plan to minimise impacts to areas of native vegetation and the Alkimos dune system and to maintain the fauna linkage within the Alkimos Parks and Recreation reserve.

Other conditions include the need to minimise impacts of noise and vibration during construction and operation and offsets to counterbalance the significant residual impact to the threatened ecological community melaleuca huegelii – melaleuca systena shrublands on limestone ridges and Carnaby’s black cockatoos.