5 March 2021

Call of the peafowl leads to meeting with minister to address road safety

| Michael Weaver
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Group of people standing in front of warning road sign for peafowl.

Save the Narrabundah Peafowl group members (back from left) Timothy DeWan, Sarah Peascod, Roy Chamberlain, Fiona Cameron, with (front) Peta Swarbrick and Angus, 2, and Patrick Peascod, 5. Photo: Michael Weaver.

If five-year-old Patrick Peascod had his way, there would be colourful peacocks on the roads around Narrabundah and Red Hill warning motorists to slow down.

Instead, there are signs that have little effect on the speed of cars along roads such as Carnegie Crescent.

While the familiar call of the area’s peafowl population has not been enough to stop a spate of deaths at the hands of motorists, the call of the Save the Narrabundah Peafowl group will now be heard in the hallways of the ACT Government.

The group says a meeting with Minister for Transport and City Services Chris Steel next week is a big step forward to address the wider issue of road safety in Canberra’s suburbs.

Save the Narrabundah Peafowl group convener Timothy DeWan said the recent publicity on the peafowl deaths highlighted the behaviour of motorists who had been observed driving too fast in built-up areas of suburban streets.

Mr DeWan wrote to the Minister on 26 February and welcomed the opportunity to finally put road safety issues being canvassed to the ACT Government.

“We’ve also been contacted by the P&C committee from one of the schools that has been impacted and they expressed an interest in participating too,” he said.

Mr DeWan also said people who had blamed the colourful peafowl for crossing the roads, predominantly during the morning and evening, was also part of the problem.

“If a child is run over or hit by a car we don’t blame the child, so it’s important to focus attention on the issue at hand here and that’s the actions of road users and traffic flow particularly in the inner south,” he said.

A young female peahen named Penny was killed on La Perouse Street on 24 February.

A young female peahen named Penny was killed on La Perouse Street on 24 February. Photo: Supplied.

Seven peafowl had been hit by cars in the past eight months reducing the population from 30 to 23 birds. Two have been killed by motorists last week and another two died in the last month.

Motorists who slowed down for the birds had also been abused.

Mr DeWan also welcomed a survey from Opposition leader Elizabeth Lee that called for the community’s thoughts on the issue of the speed of motorists in the suburbs. Member for Kurrajong Rachel Stephen-Smith has also contacted the peafowl group.

READ ALSO “Do we have to wait until it’s a child that is hit?”: peafowl deaths spark further calls to slow down

The discussion with Minister Steel will involve speed and high traffic flow issues and the risk to local pedestrians, schoolchildren and elderly residents, as well as the increased use of streets in the area by heavy vehicles on construction sites.

The issue in Narrabundah and Red Hill surrounds three streets – La Perouse Street, Carnegie Crescent and Dalrymple Street, where the Save the Narrabundah Peafowl group campaigned to have four wildlife-crossing signs installed to warn motorists.

The group had earlier campaigned to save the peafowl from being removed from the suburb after Patrick Peascod wrote a letter to the ACT Government to save the birds.

Mr DeWan also welcomed calls for a public education campaign for motorists to reduce their speed in areas where the speed limit is 50 km/h unless marked otherwise.

A spokesperson for Minister Steel said the Minister was open to suggestions from the community.

“The Minister is meeting with the group to hear what they have to say, as is the case with many community groups,” the spokesperson said.

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They are an introduced pest and should not be roaming wild in any case.

russianafroman10:57 pm 08 Mar 21

This just sounds like rich people problems.

How about an annual peacock festival where we cook up various dishes made from peacock.

The early Romans didn’t mind a bit of peacock on the menu.

“the peculiar Renaissance practice to skin peacocks with their feathers still on, roast them and “dress” them in their own skin’.

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