BEAM is actively following the progress of the planned Wallan – Kilmore bypass, as one of the proposed routes will directly impact on Monument Hill. The Friends of Monument Hill (FOMH) group joined with BEAM in 2006 and we maintain a FOMH representative on the BEAM committee – currently David Atkinson. Vicroads recently provided further information on the three routes that will still be considered for this bypass.
Although some information about the environmental impacts (eg numbers of established trees to be removed) of each route was released, the full Environmental Impact reports are not yet available to the public. BEAM has contacted Vicroads asking, once again, for copies of these reports. When they’re available we will make further submissions to Vicroads.
UPDATE 25th July 2013: There was a notice in last Friday’s Free Press regarding the environment effects statement for the 3 proposed routes for the bypass. Dept of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure is currently setting the scoping requirements. Submissions can be made by 5pm, August 12. Details are available here
What makes Monument Hill significant?
Monument Hill is an invaluable public space and an asset to Kilmore and the Shire, being the only reserve within the township that contains dense wooded areas. This unique environment is widely used by residents and visitors alike, and with the rapidly increasing population and housing density to the south, the need for such easily accessible green spaces and recreation areas will become more critical. Extensive research has highlighted the positive benefits that public open space can have on physical and mental health for individuals and the community.
Monument Hill Reserve provides habitat for a large number of native trees, wildflowers, birds, animals and fungi. It is a large continuous area of forested land that supports many species, including species that require large home ranges and cannot survive in the surrounding highly modified and fragmented landscape. The fragmentation of the reserve by a major road, carrying mainly heavy vehicles will cause a significant impact on this range of species.
Negative impacts of a bypass through the reserve
The total area of habitat will be significantly reduced and this could adversely affect some species by reducing their home ranges or adding to the distances they need to travel for food, and thus affecting their ability to breed. Many of the remaining large “habitat” trees will be lost, with offset planting unable to provide a similar habitat for many decades. The road will create an “edge” that will see the invasion of “edge” species that will compete with or kill resident species. Other edge effects will also follow, including an increased exposure to wind and sunlight that will dry the forest (particularly the lower wetter slopes), and an increased exposure to weeds.
Traffic noise could reduce bird diversity and species abundance up to 1750 m from the road (Dawes et al 2008). The road will create a barrier to wildlife moving to and from the reserve to other habitat around the golf course and along Kilmore Creek. These large numbers of moving animals (particularly kangaroos) will equally pose a hazard to the vehicles travelling on the road.
The BEAM committee does have concerns about the proposed ‘Quinns Road’ bypass option and made a submission to Vicroads late last year. We would like to see the results of the flora and fauna assessments already undertaken at Monument Hill and assess the environmental impact statements for all the options currently being investigated before providing a more detailed submission to Vicroads. BEAM have also requested further information on the expected effects of the bypass on the role of the main roads within the town as community hubs, allowing people to shop and gather locally. Watch the website for more.
Dawe, G. and Goosem, M. (2008) Noise Disturbance along Highways: Kuranda Range Road Upgrade Project. Report to the Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Facility. Reef and Rainforest Research Centre Limited, Cairns (157pp.).
Rowley, L; Edwards, R & Kelly, P; (1993) Edges, their effect on vegetation and wildlife (Australia), Victorian Department of Primary Industries