Blacktown & District Environment Group Inc was invited to submit comments on a proposal to reassign land east of the existing St Batholomew’s Church Cemetery, Prospect so that the cemetery could be extended into that area.
The area is shown hereunder:
We inspected the land and noted that much of the area was occupied by exotic grasses, herbs and blackberry.
There were, however, some areas of native canopy with native understorey, some areas of native shrubs and, near the Great Western Hwy, a drainage area.
Our submission to Blacktown City Council identified the canopy areas as providing fauna habitat/foraging value as well as providing immediate aesthetic value and, in practical terms, providing shade for attendees of burial services on warm to hot days.
The areas comprising stands of the native shrub Bursaria spinosa were said to provide potential nesting for the Superb Fairy Wren known to inhabit the area. Additionally, the shrubs could provide something of a natural screen to the heavily trafficked Great Western Hwy on the northern side of the area and the M4 Motorway on the southern side. Planting of a native shrub layer (quicker growing) and canopy inside the boundaries of the cemetery area were also recommended for screening purposes but they would also benefit avian fauna.
We also recommended enhancement of the drainage area to make a wetland area which would provide fauna foraging/habitat as well as being an aesthetic water feature of the cemetery.
We await the direction Blacktown City Council takes on this matter but it seems certain the cemetery extension will go ahead.