On the 27th March 1985, a small group of people met to discuss the proposed canal development on the Ashfield Flats area.
It was decided that they would form a group to oppose the canal development, supply information to the public and provide a vehicle for the people of Bassendean to express their views. The name "Bassendean Preservation Group" was chosen at this first meeting. A public meeting was held and from this Bassendean Preservation Group was formed with 91 members.
In the face of this community opposition, the council dropped the canal development proposal for Ashfield Flats. BPG members decided to protect the river flats and hopefully stop this situation arising again. It was decided we should start revegetating the area. For many years Ashfield Flats was a local dairy and as a result it was an open paddock.
BPG contacted the State Planning Dept. who owned the land and the Swan River Trust who were responsible for the river banks. With their permission, the work started in the winter of 1986 with the purchase of small native trees from Men of the Trees. With picks and shovels, several hundred trees were planted but unfortunately in the following summer, a grass fire went through and burnt the lot. This happened for three years in a row and as a result, the State Planning Department (at our request) employed contractors to slash the growth every spring. They also supplied us with trees to plant until we started to grow our own trees from seed collected locally, which were grown by our members in their back yards.
We applied for and received grants for several initiatives, including a display board, "Bush in Bassendean" brochures, fencing for Jubilee Reserve Bushland, and construction of a boardwalk across Chapman St. drain. The Swan River Trust gave us assistance with river bank erosion by installing limestone rocks. The members went into the water and erected baffle boards and planted rushes in several places to stop boat wash eroding the banks but unfortunately the baffle boards weren't successful.
Over time we took on remnant bush in Success Hill, Jubilee Reserve ,Bindaring and Pickering Parks by planting trees native to these areas. Furthermore, we also assisted the council in later years with weeding and planting at the Broadway Arboretum. Recently, BPG has been leased an area by Dept. of Environment and Conservation to use as a GroCentre on Black Swan Island behind Ascot Waters. With a Lotterwest grant we purchased a modified sea container and numerous other items to create a wonderful setup for growing plants, rushes and sedges for the future.
BPG after 27 years has about 45 members and has planted over 13,000 trees. The Ashfield Flats area looks great and gives us a tremendous feeling of satisfaction.