Byles Creek Owl Family
Family of owls faces eviction - these powerful owls live in Byles Creek Valley where residents are fighting to save them. Call Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton today to let her know you care. #SOSgreenspaces
Friends of Byles Creek Valley in Beecroft, a verdant tract of bushland just 26 minutes drive from the CBD, have been fighting for several years to save 85 per cent of the tree canopy and most of the understorey around Byles Creek from clearing associated with a new development.
Concerned residents will meet with Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton this Friday May 12 to discuss negative impacts on the area. Call her to let her know they have your support. Ph: (02) 9326 1856
The bush pocket is vital to local families of Powerful Owls, including Sheba and Fishcake who are currently roosting in the vicinity of Mikey's hollow; as well as White-headed Pigeons, and Sydney's last breeding population of gang-gang cockatoos.
Listed on the vulnerable species register, powerful owls grow up to 60cm in height, feed on a possum a day and require large tracts of wooded territory with trees around 150 years old in which they nest
But local residents are worried a proposed residential development will encroach on the space the birds need.
Greens MP David Shoebridge has said, "this is a gorgeous patch of remnant Sydney forest that has a direct link to Lane Cove National Park and we have so little left. This should have been incorporated into the national park decades ago."
He suggested this is the ideal moment for the state and local government to cooperate to buy back the land.
"A commission of inquiry in 1988 found that the land was of significant local environmental importance and should be purchased by council."
HORNSBY Council is now suing a property owner who cleared about 20 trees for building work at Beecroft, which the council says breached orders. The development site has already attracted considerable public opposition to the five residential lot subdivision of the one hectare plot.
300 people gathered recently to reiterate calls for the council and state government to buy the land to protect it.
One of the speakers, Beecroft resident Michael Bianchino, urged officials to act.
“We are sick of hearing from our elected officials why something can’t be done,” he said. “We want to hear what can be done, and what will be done.”
However Hornsby Mayor Steve Russell told the Hornsby Times any purchase would cost millions of dollars.
Ironically, fines for illegal land clearing include $3300 for individuals and $5500 for corporations under the Native Vegetation Act. If the matter goes to court, the maximum penalty is $1.1 million.
What You Can Do
- Join our SOS Green Spaces campaign
- Follow the Byles Creek Facebook page
- Donate to our SOS Green Spaces map which creates an overview allows communities all over Sydney to connect
- Call Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton and ask her to intervene