By Kyra Gillespie
Cardinia Groves residents fear for the future of the native wildlife along Pakenham Road, with neighbouring bushland the next to be gobbled up by housing developments.
Nearly 40 acres is on track to be transformed into a dense housing estate at 110 Pakenham Road.
The earmarked site, currently under the working title Brooklea, will comprise of 192 residential lots on the 37.83 acre block.
The average lot size will be 447 square metres, accommodating approximately five houses per acre.
10,100 square metres of land has also been put aside for a commercial zone.
Touted as “a ready to turn dirt development opportunity,” the permit-approved property is currently being offered for sale by tender.
Behind the vibrant glossed posters and sales info-graphs, residents across the road in Cardinia Groves estate fear for the future of the wildlife living at the site.
“I see a beautiful mob of kangaroos, kookaburras and other wildlife when I wake up every morning,” Cardinia Groves resident Rachael Tommasini said.
“I chose to move to this estate because it was surrounded by land and nature, but now with this new development happening it will be something that not only I lose seeing every day, but will force out all that wildlife.
“Kangaroos are our national icon, yet council and developers are showing a complete disregard for them and it’s really quite sad.”
Ms Tommasini said she was never aware of the development and wasn’t given the opportunity to object to the planning permit.
“I can’t object to the planning permit because I wasn’t told about it,” she said.
“No-one that I have spoken to was made aware that the land was being sold off for development.
“The council could have considered saving part of that land to create a reserve or a wildlife corridor so these animals have somewhere to go. Instead they are being pushed further away.”
Nikki Sutterby is the President of the Australian Society for Kangaroos, a national organisation based in Victoria that represents the general public who value the preservation of kangaroo and wallaby populations across Australia.
Ms Sutterby said the situation on Pakenham Road is just one of many cases the organisation handles on a daily basis.
“It’s sad because when councils and developers do environmental assessments they might look at threatened species, but kangaroos always seem to be invisible,” she said.
“They seem to ignore the fact that kangaroos are living on the land they are about to develop and the roos end up being killed on roads trying to escape it.
“It’s a massive issue at the moment and local councils need to ensure they leave room for wildlife corridors and assign land where the kangaroos can live.
“Kangaroos are not safe anywhere; they are being shot on farms, displaced by developers and getting hit by cars. What’s happening is criminal; they need to stop destroying habitats and native wildlife – we need trees to breathe and our wildlife need a place to live.”
Pakenham Road is notorious for roo fatalities; earlier this year Pakenham wildlife rescuer Sarah Cooke told the Gazette three kangaroos were hit and killed on Pakenham Road in one night.
“My belief is that because we’re building into their homes, they’re trying to cross the roads to find refuge,” she said.
“It just means they’re more vulnerable.”
The planning permit for the new estate was lodged by applicant Szajntop Construction in October 2016.
Cardinia Shire Council has been contacted by the Gazette for comment.