Each time a colourful peafowl is killed on the streets of Narrabundah and Red Hill, a group of residents fighting for their welfare equates the death to a member of their community being hit or killed by a speeding motorist.
This week, another two peafowls died after being hit by drivers travelling too fast in the suburbs, according to the Save the Narrabundah Peafowl group which says the ACT Government is not listening to its repeated calls for a speed management plan.
The group met with ACT Minister for Transport and City Services Chris Steel and senior members of the department on 25 March to call for measures to deter speeding cars and trucks after it said increased traffic flows in their community had resulted in the deaths of nine peafowl hit by motor vehicles in the past eight months.
A spokesperson for Transport Canberra and City Services this week said a traffic study had commenced to identify any potential road safety issues and opportunities for improvements. The study is expected to be completed by July 2021, which will be followed by further engagement with the Narrabundah community.
While both parties have said the meeting in March was constructive about how residents and the ACT Government can work together to prioritise safety for traffic, pedestrians and peafowl, Save the Narrabundah Peafowl group spokesperson Timothy DeWan said the area’s peafowl population continues to be the ‘canaries in the coalmine’ for the area’s young and elderly residents, and it is only a matter of time before a human life would be impacted by a speeding motorist.
“The death of another two peafowl this week only highlights our calls for more urgent action,” Mr DeWan, told Region Media.
“We asked the minister to have a look at the issue and consult with us to come up with some ideas and recommendations, but since our meeting there’s not been a word from them.
“It’s not good enough and we’re worried it’s going to take the death of a child or an elderly person for them to take notice.”
The most recent peafowl deaths occurred on Tuesday, 27 April, at about 4:45 pm when two young peahens were hit by a motorist on La Perouse Street, not far from the site of the last fatality in March 2021, near the Carnegie Crescent intersection.
The driver didn’t stop but a passing motorist did stop to assist the peahens with local residents. One peahen died at the scene and the other was euthanised by a local veterinarian after both its legs were broken.
In 2018, the Save the Narrabundah Peafowl group campaigned to save the peafowl during community consultation on the ACT Government’s draft Peafowl Management Plan.
Four wildlife crossing signs were installed in mid-2020, two on La Perouse Street and two on Carnegie Crescent in Narrabundah.
However, Mr DeWan now fears the population of about 30 birds will be wiped out in two years and has made a number of urgent requests to the ACT Government, including 40km/h zones, a roundabout to replace stop signs at the intersection of La Perouse Street and Carnegie Crescent, zigzags, and a peacock stencil painted on the roads approaching the 40km/h zones.
“These measures add a mere 10 seconds to the travel times of motorists transiting our streets and will save lives,” said Mr DeWan.
“One resident said he sees a crash at the intersection of Carnegie Crescent and La Perouse Street about every two weeks. One car ended up in his front yard and another hit his van parked on the street.
“These things are occurring because of speeding motorists so it’s obvious these accidents and the deaths of our precious peafowl can be avoided by getting people to slow down.”
The group has also received support from the CEO of ACT RSPCA, Michelle Robertson, and offers of financial support from the Griffith Narrabundah Community Association to address their issues.