When the Maylands Brickworks closed in 1983, the disused clay pits from which it sourced its material, gradually grew into a pseudo wetland, inhabited by frogs, turtles, snakes etc, and a wide variety of birds including migratory species, as well as native flora. Significantly, the Environmental Protection Authority classified them as “modified wetlands whose existing wetlands function was to be retained”.
The City of Stirling initially proposed to use the wetland as a rubbish disposal pit and subsequently build 1,000 units on the reclaimed area. However, the ‘People for the Peninsula’, vigorously campaigned against the destruction of this invaluable wildlife haven and proposed that the wetlands instead be transformed into semi-natural lakes surrounded by parklands. They argued that real estate surrounding the lakes and parkland would reap a greater financial return for the City of Stirling, than high-rise units. Consequently, Bungana and Lake Brearley lakes were established on the wetland in 1998, as part of the Satterley Group’s Maylands Peninsula development. The video of the recollections of Frank Greenslade (deceased) who was at the forefront of the residents’ protest is both interesting and informative. Had it not been for the efforts of those residents, the Maylands lakes and their idyllic surrounds would not exist.
Unfortunately, the nutrient stripping basins meant to filter out the inflow of water from surrounding drains, which were touted as a key feature of the development, were never installed, presumably because they would have occupied too much saleable land. This along with the fact that no routine water quality testing or preventative maintenance was undertaken for the ensuing eighteen years, despite the lakes’ increasingly evident deterioration since 2012, culminated in the near collapse of the lakes.
One of the first initiatives of the FOML was to urge the City to commission a detailed report on the health of the lakes. The report prepared by independent consultants Essential Environmental was highly detailed and its recommendations form the foundation of the remediation plan.