I have recently visited Western Springs Forest now that it has been re-opened to the public and what I observed was rather disturbing.
Not only is it devastating to see such a huge gap in the forest after the destruction of the mostly healthy pines and huge amounts of the natives, but the amount of debris and chip on site is concerning.
I am also appalled at the amount of rubbish - paint cans/trays, bottles, drink and spray cans, plastic rubbish, numerous pieces of rusting tin AND a folding chair which I believe belonged to one of the Red Badge Security staff, who was sitting on it whilst observing the excavator tearing down the forest. I find it abhorrent that it was left on site ignored by Council staff, the contractors (Treescape), Red Badge and the Ecologists (Wildlands) supervising the planting.
I have visited the forest on numerous occasions over the years, being a local resident, and photographer. It was my happy place. There is no longer a forest. With the big hole in the centre of the bush, the enormous impact on the natives means that there are obviously fewer birds. They are now mainly around the edges where there weren't trees felled.
One would presume that the new stairs and sealing of the track would make walking safer, but that has not been the case. Whilst going up the path the other day, I had to step aside off the walking track, as a cyclist came hurtling down. It gave me a fright. I nearly got bowled over as I hadn't see him coming. He had bounced down the dozen steps on his race to the bottom. Gone was the feeling of a forest full of life, and I felt I as if was on a dangerous sports track!
Sharon Jones, Local resident
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Published 1 October 2021