Protecting biodiversity in our urban environments is more important than ever.
Many in our community have been shocked to see the clearing of native habitat to make way for the construction of the Rankin Park to Jesmond inner city bypass.
Unfortunately, we can't bring the trees back, but we can petition the newly-elected state government to fix the design of the bypass to improve wildlife connectivity through using pillars, instead of cut and fill, at two key sections of the bypass
Jesmond bushland is home to Powerful Owls, Squirrel Gliders, and Little Lorikeets. It provides critical habitat throughout the year for migrating endangered birds, like the Swift Parrot and the Regent Honeyeater amongst others.
Clearing for the 3.4km, four-lane bypass is likely complete and has resulted in the clearing or disturbance of 51 hectares which is equivalent to 71 soccer fields.
Of this 51 hectares, 43.5 hectares is known foraging habitat for the Squirrel Glider.
320 identified hollow-bearing trees were identified for removal which are essential for the survival of many possums, gliders, bats and several species of birds.
Jesmond Park is habitat for threatened fauna and flora species.
Threatened fauna species
- Little Lorikeet (Glossopsitta pusilla)
- Powerful Owl (Ninox strenua)
- Grey-headed Flying-fox (Pteropus poliocephalus)
- Little Bent-wing Bat (Miniopterus australis)
- Eastern Bent-wing Bat(Micronomus norfolkensis (syn. Mormopterus norfolkensis)
- Eastern Freetail-bat (Micronomus norfolkensis (syn. Mormopterus norfolkensis)
Threatened flora species
- Black-eyed Susan (Tetratheca juncea)
- Small-flower Grevillea (Grevillea parviflora subsp. parviflora)
- Magenta Lily Pilly (Syzygium paniculatum)
- The Leafless Tongue-orchid (Cyrptostylis hunteriana) and Newcastle Doubletail (Diuris praecox) are also expected to be impacted.
Over the years, the only decision-maker to stand up against this bypass was Greens councillor Michael Osborne on Newcastle City Council in 2012, when it was considered as part of the Newcastle Local Environment Plan.
The previous Liberal/National state government ignored all calls to stop or relocate the road.
We hope that our newly elected Ministers will agree to modifying the design to include two sections of pillars would allow for much greater wildlife connectivity and reduce the amount of permanent habitat loss without the need for the supporting earthworks.