What is the issue?
»The Hallam Valley Contour Drain (HVCD) has significant environmental values associated with the habitat in the drainage system that includes a fish species, Dwarf Galaxias (Galaxiella pusilla), protected under Federal Legislation.
»The Dwarf Galaxias is listed as Vulnerable under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and Threatened under the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988.
»All landowners are required to consider works that have potential to disturb the habitat of the species and any development is required to gain the necessary approvals from the State and Federal Government where Dwarf Galaxias habitat is present.
What’s Council's role?
»Council is required to follow and enforce the Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 as well as the State Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988.
»Council believes in strong environmental protections to ensure vulnerable and threatened species such as the Dwarf Galaxias are not disturbed and flourish in their habitat.
»Council officers understand that shifting the roundabout to the north would require wider bridge structures, which would cause extended lengths of dark, overshadowed areas under the bridge structures which is deemed unsuitable for the Dwarf Galaxias habitat.
»In 2016, Council officers requested the developer undertake a targeted Dwarf Galaxias survey as part of a planning permit application process associated with the proposed removal of native vegetation for the upgraded roundabout.
What’s Council's position?
»The consultant engaged by the developer concluded that the current preferred option for the roundabout upgrade (as set out in the Berwick Waters PSP) will have the least potential impact on Dwarf Galaxias, and the fish habitat.
»Any options to the North will likely have a more significant impact, particularly due to in-stream works required, and should be referred to the Federal Government for assessment.
»There are also potential consequences and additional requirements that could be required by the Federal Government, should a northern option be pursued.
»Council, for this reason, supports the decision to locate the roundabout as set out in the Berwick Waters PSP to avoid damage to the Dwarf Galaxias habitat, while also stopping a delay in the upgrade due to the requirements of Commonwealth Government assessment.