Plan to move kangaroos from Sunningdale school site

The kangaroos try and leave via the bushland at the Sunningdale and Moorpark Ave intersection end of the park but find themselves trapped behind the fence. Picture: Anita McInnes

KANGAROOS getting caught behind a fence while using bushland as a thoroughfare to get to get to green grass in St Andrews Park will be relocated, according to the Department of Finance.

The kangaroos mainly come from bushland behind homes in Moorpark Ave and easily find their way along the fence line to get to the green feed.

But on their return they try and usually try to leave via the bushland at the Sunningdale and Moorpark Ave intersection end of the park and find themselves trapped behind the fence erected by the contractor.

A Department of Finance (DoF) spokeswoman said the oval side and parts of the fence had been left down to allow movement of the existing wildlife to and from the site.

The spokeswoman said there was a planning condition and contractual requirement for a native fauna management plan to be prepared by the contractor, EMCO Building, prior to the commencement of site clearing for the new Sunningdale Primary School due to open next year.

“This plan also includes how the contractor intends to manage fauna during the contract,’’ she said.

“The plan is currently being finalised and will be submitted to the City of Wanneroo for comment.’’

She said the contractor had also applied for a fauna taking (relocation) licence from the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) to enable the appropriate relocation and best welfare outcomes for the kangaroos in the area.

“The Department of Education and the Department of Finance are responsible for this development and they are working with the builder, the City of Wanneroo and DBCA to ensure that the appropriate management of fauna is undertaken prior to construction works commencing.’’

But in a statement the City of Wanneroo said the Sunningdale Rd development, being a primary school, was exempt from any approvals by the City of Wanneroo.

“Nevertheless, the developer has to prepare a native fauna management plan (NFMP) prior to clearing the land, to the satisfaction of the state government,’’ the statement said.

“The city understands that this NFMP is yet to be prepared and approved by the state government.’’

Sonia Cooke from Northern Valleys Wildlife Support, who is a registered wildlife rehabilitator with the Parks and Wildlife Service, said plans were being put in place to relocate the kangaroos to a more suitable habitat.

She said the state government had thrown the builder under the bus with the project.

“It is rare  to come across a building company who are so concerned about native fauna protection and  environmentally conscious,’’ she said.

“A local government fauna management policy should apply to all land owners in the City of Wanneroo.

“State government owned land should not be exempt from compliance.

“It is criminal a state government can bulldoze land without contracting a fauna specialist to spot and remove existing wild residents.’’

When completed Sunningdale PS will be able to accommodate 430 students from kindergarten to Year 6.

Construction was meant to get underway after Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery turned the first sod at the site on January 23 but was held up because no plans had been made for the kangaroos and other wildlife using the site.

The new school will have a dedicated early childhood teaching block and three general classroom blocks, including a specialised art and craft room.

It will include a covered assembly area with a canteen and music room, as well as a library resource centre, staff room, conference room and administration building.

Disclosure: The journalist is a former Sunningdale Rd resident.