Restoration on the cards

RESTORATION: Photographs from May 9 show the removal of pests leads to other wildlife re-emerging to make Cockle Bay domain a home. Photo supplied.

It’s been more than a year since Matthew Brajkovich started work on restoring the Cockle Bay domain, and now he’s asking for the support of the community.

The long-time Cockle Bay resident has major concerns about the domain in its current state.

From the gorse in the ground to a confrontation with the resident wild cat, to the presence of possums and the increasing likelihood of a huge willow breaking the bridge when it falls, there’s a lot that needs fixing, said Mr Brajkovich.

Fortunately, there’s a group willing to step up to make a positive difference.

Mr Brajkovich has pulled together 30 community members with a passion for turning the domain into a ‘true local hot spot’ for all to enjoy, including residents with connections to local schools.

He envisages the domain as a thriving habitat for wildlife, a space families can enjoy and a place where locals can feel they play a part in looking after a community asset.

“In ten years, we could look at this and go ‘wow, look what we did!’ and that would continue – for the next generation, and the next.”

First up on his to-do list is clean up and pest management, followed by planting native trees, removing the willows and growing vegetable summer crops on the John Gill Road side of the domain.

He’s got plenty of ideas to put into motion, but gaining council approval to make the changes has been difficult, admits Mr Brajkovich.

He hopes an increase in community support for the project will hurry along a positive outcome.

“Trying to get the council to let people do things is the biggest barrier. There’s an attitude of complacency that it can wait.

“We’ve got people who are willing and ready to go, we’re just waiting on council to give us a yes.”

Having previously worked in industrial construction, Mr Brajkovich said he understands the reservations council may hold regarding health and safety, but said he keeps that at the forefront of his mind when working, and hopes council can reach an agreement with the group giving approval for the work to take place.

“The problem is most people get fatigued and then decide to take shortcuts, and sometimes when people haven’t done a lot of physical construction work in the past, they don’t even recognise when they are getting fatigued.

“That’s why whenever we work, it’s for a maximum of four hours. That’s enough for one day.”

There have been a few wins along the way, said Mr Brajkovich, after discovering a mother duck and her little ducklings settled in the domain earlier this month.

He credits removal of hedgehogs and rats from the domain as the reason for their return, and has suggested if people have issues with possums around parks, he can do a trapping system for a small fee to recover costs.