Archive for the 'Environment & Sustainability' Category

Koalas versus Development

July 17th, 2013

So Council will spend our money developing a Koala Management Plan. What an utter and total waste of time and money! The only plan that Council should be revising is the Draft Fraser Coast Planning Scheme. This scheme will take precedence over every and any other plan and it will outline which land can and cannot be developed.

It seems Government is happy to spend lots and lots of money “planning”. We are all invited to participate and mostly the outcomes are simple common sense. BUT how many of these plans are costed and include actual mechanisms to enable the actual achievement of he aims described within?

I have never ever in all my years involved with Council witnessed a ‘plan’ that actually achieved what it set out to do. After all the recent land clearing at Tinana, which is sensitive koala habitat, was approved for development under the current Maryborough Planning Scheme! Please don’t throw good money down the drain. Just fix the actual Planning Scheme to properly protect environmentally important lands.

Cats and Dogs – Council gets it right!

November 9th, 2012

Every one of us involved in rescuing discarded cats and dogs, that through no fault of their own, become surplus to humans requirements, will be ecstatic to hear that our Council is advancing the tightening of our Animal Control Laws. The introduction of tighter breeding and desexing controls is one small but hugely important step towards halting the over supply of cats that end up either running wild, becoming feral and killing native wildlife, or on death row at the local pounds.

Education does not work, higher registration fees does not work but combined with sensible breeding and desexing Laws properly enforced, then maybe we will start killing less perfectly healthy, beautiful and loving cats and kittens each and every week.

As President of Pet Warriors I hope to live to see the day that our organisation and other similar charitable volunteer organisations close because there are no more cats and dogs in need of saving.

And for the critics I say… If you don’t believe tighter animal breeding and desexing Laws are needed please let me know when next you wish to accompany myself or a volunteer to the local pound and maybe take the trip to the vet with our poor Council compliance officers who all detest that part of their job, or assist the vet in killing perfectly healthy, friendly and innocent cats and dogs! I am appalled that each and every week death is the only future for so many of our cats and dogs.

Death by stealth. Foreshore under attack?

July 24th, 2012

From the minutes of the most recent Council meeting held 18th July 2012.

Question on Notice Response Report – Lorikeets – Scarness Foreshore RESOLUTION ( Taylor / Truscott )
That:
1. Council note the report on lorikeets and acknowledges:
a) the potential risks placed on users of the Scarness Caravan Park as identified in the report,
b) the hazards that the lorikeets place on people and property in the Scarness Caravan Park as noted in the report,
c) the projected loss of revenue attributed to the influx of lorikeets in the Scarness Caravan Park for the 2012/2013 period being approximately $185,000 as indicated in the report.
2. Council approve the removal of the problem coastal pines and gum trees as identified in the report and that more suitable replacement mature age native tree, eg. Tuckeroos, be replanted within the Caravan Park for each tree removed in an appropriate location.
3. Council investigate a suitable location to establish a lorikeet feeding station along the Esplanade and the potential financial and social benefits to the Fraser Coast Community. That this investigation be conducted in consultation with the affected business community, and
4. on the completion of these works, a report be provided to Council on the outcome of this strategy and its effectiveness as a bird management option.
Carried Unanimously
Ord 10/1108/07/12

For years I fought any attempt to remove trees from our Hervey Bay foreshore and it has taken this new Council less than 3 months to start hacking into our precious foreshore. The Managers of the Scarness Caravan Park previously managed the Burrum Heads Caravan Park. They successfully lobbied the Council to have trees removed in that caravan park the reason being.. You guessed it… Lorrikeets! The community was outraged! I never supported that action!
Now we have the exact same situation at Scarness where Lorikeets have roosted for years and years. I believe the caravan park managers want to remove trees so that more caravan sites can be created. Why do I believe this? Well removing a handful of trees will not solve the Lorrikeet problem. The Lorikeets roost in trees within and without the caravan park. Removing some trees will not reduce the noise that the birds make at all. I am sure caravan park users already know that a tarp will solve the problem of the bird droppings also.
This caravan park has been very profitable for its entire existence but no the trees have to go so that even more money can supposedly be made! At what cost progress?
Do we want a foreshore bereft of trees and thereby bereft of birds, possums, micro bats, lizards and all the other myriad wildlife that abides there?
Our foreshore is the only thing that separates Hervey Bay from any other coastal city. Our foreshore is unique. It is special and it is ours to nurture not to spoil.
Cr George Seymour promised that we would still have a Councillor with an environmental focus. He has already demonstrated that his principles mean nought. He is the one Councillor I would never have imagined would support the removal of perfectly healthy trees, many of them are likely to be over a hundred years old.
My biggest fear is what is yet to come! Please like the recently created Facebook page called Hervey Bay Foreshore Protection Group. We also need to ensure that community consultation occurs in relation to any task force findings or alterations to the adopted foreshore plan!
Your collective voices are needed now. We need to send a strong message to this new Council that our foreshore is precious. That it is unique and that it must be preserved and not vandalised for the benefit of a few and for some supposed financial gain. The financial gains envisaged may in fact be lost together with much more of our tourism income. After all why will anyone come here if we end up with a wind swept manicured trees and lawn style foreshore that can be found every where else?
PS. The Council report was not made available to the public as part of the Council agenda available on the website. It was listed as ‘To be distributed’. This meant no one had access to it prior to the Council meeting. Is this what we want from our promised open Council?

Dugongs, turtles and this weeks Council meeting

September 4th, 2011

I wrote this letter to the Chronicle today…

Cliff Cobb (FCC 3/9/11) makes a compelling case for the need to fund indigenous rangers… until the very last sentence of his letter. In this one sentence he states that ‘we need voluntary measures to ensure traditional dugong and turtle take is within sustainable limits’. To my way of thinking Cliff undoes all the excellent argument that has gone before. You see I don’t believe there is any reason whatsoever, that any traditional killing of endangered dugong and turtle should be allowed in our region. Where there is access to alternative food supplies via shops and supermarkets, the taking of any endangered animal should cease. I am not talking about remote regions like most of Northern Australia where there are no corner stores!

I question the argument that our indigenous peoples have the right to ‘take’ these animals for cultural reasons.  Food throughout our region is easily sourced without killing endangered wildlife. If the animals are taken for reasons other than eating then I ask that our indigenous elders question these cultural reasons and examine them carefully.

As a culture advances it changes and evolves. We no longer find slavery acceptable, we abhor racism, we won’t tolerate whaling, we allow women to work (as a student leaving school there were still jobs I could not apply for because I was a female) and we realise that if we want to preserve our native flora and fauna we need to preserve our natural habitat. Is it time then that our indigenous community took a stand and decided to stop hunting turtles and dugongs in our waters?

I hope we can all work together to better protect these fragile creatures and ensure that our children’s children will be able to swim and snorkel and glimpse these wonderful creatures. I hope that as a community we can evolve and grow together and better protect the intrinsic values that make our patch of this country such a special place.

COUNCIL MEETING news

This week we sit in Hervey Bay on Wednesday at 9.30am for our Ordinary Meeting Number 16. Items to be decided include a response to a petition calling for a skate park in Brendon Hansen Park in Granville. We receive our quarterly activity report on compliance issues which contains statistics showing animal registrations and euthanising etc. Also parking and food services related info etc. We are required to update our delegating powers for the CEO in relation to the EPA and Building and Integrity Acts. We decide on a proposal to lease a building at the Arts and Crafts village in Bideford St to the Arts Council. We receive the WBWC Corporate Plan. We receive the draft Local Gov Area Pest Management Plan. But the two issues that interest me the most are two reports. One is the application to construct 32 Low Density houses on the Hervey Bay Golf Course and the other is in relation to opting in or out, areas of our region, for the State Government Exploration for resources. I look forward to some interesting debate on these issues.

The agenda should be available for viewing via the Council web site tomorrow afternoon. Cheers, Sue

Cat desexing. Bring it on please!

August 9th, 2011

Wonderul news to hear that our community is getting behind a petition that asks Council to introduce stricter controls on cats. Fraser Coast Pet Warriors, Maryborough Animal Refuge and Fraser Coast Wildlife are all helping collect signatures. The petition is a response to the new Local Laws process and requests Council to ensure that cats and kittens are desexed on any change of ownership. This will mean existing cat owners will not need to do anything but all cats and kittens being sold or given away will be required to be desexed unless used for breeding. Breeders will need a permit. While this seems like a fairly harsh requirement I am utterly sick and tired of the many little tiny lives that are lost because there are not enough homes for all the kittens being produced either intentionally or unintentionally. My two mature cats are a brother and sister born to my daughters cat. The mother cat was only 5 months old when she became pregnant much to our surprise and dismay. 12 years later I still have the offspring.

The petition is available at Mind Games in Pialba Place (yes this is my shop..) , the Maryborough Animal Refuge and if I hear of more places I will let you know. If you want a copy please email me or print out or copy this that follows…..

To the Chief Executive Officer and Councillors of the Fraser Coast Regional Council.

PO Box 1943 Hervey Bay, Qld, 4655

I write to you to voice my support for the introduction of compulsory cat desexing.

I/we the undersigned, request that the Fraser Coast Regional Council introduce mandatory cat desexing requirements via the new Local Laws (or by whatever other suitable means), as soon as possible.

I/we believe that the number of unwanted cats and kittens currently euthanized and/or dumped throughout our region is unacceptable. We believe that animal ownership should be a privilege not a right. I/we believe that it is socially unacceptable that cats are allowed to breed indiscriminately resulting in a surplus of kittens that cannot be homed. While education and incentives to desex cats and kittens are welcome and necessary, their impact alone is not sufficient to combat the problem of overpopulation of cats and kittens within our region. Cats that are dumped become feral and are causing ongoing harm to our unique and precious native fauna.

I/we request that Council introduce a law (or laws), that require every cat or kitten to be desexed (or booked into a vet to be desexed), on transfer of ownership via selling or giving away or any other means, unless via a registered breeder. Cat breeding must be regulated by registration of all cat breeders with suitable requirements relating to the number of cats per property and their housing requirements etc.

Thank you for your time and consideration to this matter.

Date:

Name and Address:

Signature:

Foreshore Poll ends

November 15th, 2010

Council is about to review the Foreshore Plans actions and I hope that Council does decide to better focus on weed control along the foreshore and in other ‘natural’ areas than has been our experience in the past. I also want sensible designs in relations to gardens and picnic facilities and car parking not like the problematic design we have now at  The Gables.
The Council CEP programme is the ideal tool to use and has a new and proactive and very keen Council officer, by way of Marc Russell, to oversee it. Yes there is some red tape involved but in these days of litigation this is a necessary evil. Some groups haven’t continued on with CEP in the past after initial enthusiasm and maybe this is because they believe they will be allowed to carry out clearing and other works to increase views? When they realise this cannot be achieved in many places (Dundowran/Toogoom for example)under the current Foreshore Plan, they stop participating.

The Fraser Coast foreshore is a very large piece of public land and a huge cost to Council to maintain. To spend more funds on the foreshore impacts on rates and no one wants to see rates rise. So yes if we want to better service the foreshore and better care for it lets all roll up our collective sleeves and help Council in its endeavours.
The Chronicle campaign is timely as it has focussed attention on the foreshore but lets not get too excited about a campaign that has a broad generalised question that is not well defined, relating to an area of foreshore that isn’t defined and is only representative of Chronicle readers not the wider community. Under 700 votes is less than half a percent of the regions population so I won’t be jumping up and down reacting to this result. But it would be nice to know the breakdown of numbers versus suburbs?

One could easily say that the deafening sounds of silence from the greater community means they are basically content with things the way they are! I was expecting a much bigger response seeing as global emails were flying round the electronic world faster than the speed of…!

But a survey of actual Foreshore users now that would be interesting wouldn’t it?

PS The All Abilities Playground adjacent to the Seafront Oval will open soon. Another public facility right on the foreshore. I look forward to receiving your opinions on that in the very near future.

Foreshore Front Page – and the Chronicle poll!

November 7th, 2010

The Esplanade and Foreshore made the font page yesterday with yours truly and the Chronicle Editor featured on the front page. We were both trying to keep the rain out of our eyes at the time that this photo was taken Friday morning (directly opposite Delfinos just up from Denman Camp Rd). I didn’t expect Peter to front up so that was a surprise.

The story goes on to argue that some areas of our foreshore need a good clean up and the weeds and dead branches etc need removing. I agree about the weeds but some dead wood and natural undergrowth should be left alone depending on where it is located.

Inside The Chronicle I am portrayed as wanting the Foreshore ‘left alone’. I have never said I want it totally left alone and I have worked hard to find a way to better resource our Council staff so that increased weeding regimes can occur. I recently posted a story about how the community can become involved and help Council in this regard. Also this week in Council I was informed that the highly anticipated Foreshore Plan actions review report will be ready the first week of December.

So to the poll. The Chronicle is asking us to vote and there are two questions. Either we ask for a ‘major clean up’ of the foreshore or we don’t!  The questions are designed to be either one or the other and don’t, in my mind, properly articulate what is needed.

However I will be voting no as I believe the foreshore only needs a minor clean up in specific areas and as The Chronicle hasn’t properly defined what it actually means by  ‘a major clean up’ I am not confident that the results of the poll will be worth much anyway. But there is a poll and already there have been global emails being circulated by UDIA and the Hervey Bay Chamber of Commerce asking their members to vote ‘as this is your chance to clean up The Esplanade’. So from business and the development industry we have a big clean up push. Maybe I will just cross out the word ‘major’ on the form and insert ‘just remove weeds’ instead!

So it is over to the readers of The Chronicle to have their say. To participate in the poll either use the coupon printed in The Chronicle on Saturday or email The Chronicle at

hbedit@frasercoastchronicle.com.au

You must attach your name and suburb for your vote to be recognised and it is probably best to use the words Foreshore Poll in the subject line.

I will be interested in the results. Cheers, Sue

PS Can’t finish without thanking Tess Patterson for her wonderful letter. She has a lovely way of putting into words what our foreshore means to many of us. Thanks Tess.

The Mant Street Mob

November 5th, 2010

This is the media release about our newest Council Community Environment Volunteer Program group. Isn’t it just wonderful when people roll up their sleeves and get involved instead of just simply being an armchair critic!

04 November 2010

 A new Community Environment Group joins the team

The Mant Street Mob is the latest to join the Community Environment Program set up by the Fraser Coast Regional Council.

 “There are 12 of us, all residents of Mant Street hence our name,” Point Vernon resident Stan Walker said.

 “We’ve been here nine years and if I’d known about the program earlier I would have joined earlier.”

 On the group’s first working bee in the Mant Street Nature Reserve, which includes areas of the Point Vernon foreshore, the volunteers filled three large trailers with weeds in two hours.

 Weeds included Easter Cassia, Prickly Duranta, Corky Passionfruit, Stinking Passionfruit and groundcovers Mother of Millions, Ground Asparagus and Purple Succulent (Callisia).

 Stumps were removed to reduce the risk of injury and some dead branches in visible areas have been removed. The volunteers also picked up large pieces of cement, plastic bags, cans and bottles.

 “Weeds are sensitively cleared to reduce competition and encourage natural regeneration,” Fraser Coast Regional Council Community Environment Program Officer Marc Russell said.

 Attracting birds back to the area is very important for the group.

 “Once we’ve cleared the weeds we will plant natives in some areas to attract birds,” Mr Walker said.

 “And because we lost some old trees with nesting hollows when the Gatakers boat ramp was upgraded we plan to build nesting boxes.”

 The boxes would be used by a range of wildlife including parrots, owls, gliders, possums and microbats.

 There are 17 CEP groups across the region including ones at Urangan and Toogoom which are looking for members and a new group about to start at Pialba and possibly a second group at Point Vernon.

 Council provides training in occupational health and safety, weed and native plant identification, management techniques and project prioritisation as well as seedlings.

 Anyone wishing to carry out works in foreshore areas should join a CEP group to ensure projects are approved as much of the vegetation in these sensitive areas is protected under local or state legislation, Mr Russell said.

 If you would like more information, or would like to join a CEP group contact the Council’s Community Environment Program Officer Marc Russell on 4197 4644.

ENDS

The Mant Street Mob hard at work

The Mant Street Mob hard at work

Rulers and Their Rules.

June 26th, 2010

Mr Peter Chapman, editor of our local Chronicle makes some interesting observations today. He is concerned about a possible demonstration outside the Chronicle offices. I thought a demonstration was simply one way that members of our community could express a point of view and I remember well the wonderful feeling that I experienced when joining with peaceful but caring residents on several occasions, to protest against the decision to dam our great Mary River. I hope that Mr Chapman can welcome such public demonstrations and not see them as a threat. If there are members of our community unhappy with stories, or possibly a lack of stories, within our daily paper surely they have the right to express their point of view?

 The issue that has caused the fuss is the proposed coal mine at Aldershot and Mr Chapman states very clearly that the Chronicle supports ‘any project that brings jobs and money into this economy’. He clarifies his statement by stating that ‘all businesses must follow the rules and regulations so that our precious environment is maintained along with our quality of life”. I commend Mr Chapman on stating his position so clearly but could I possibly pose some questions?

What does the community do when the rules and regulations don’t result in the protection of our precious environment and our quality of life? Could it be that the people vested with the responsibility of making the rules and regulations don’t make good ones that do protect our environment and quality of life or when they do make the rules they don’t bother to enforce them? Could these same people be the ones who most benefit financially from the resulting rules and regulations that they design?

Could it be that economic return trumps anything and everything time and time again? I’m adult enough to understand that none of us could lead the quality of life we do without a robust and healthy economy, after all I am a small business owner myself, but I’m more and more worried when I observe economic returns dominating every aspect of our lives. I believe that an economy built on perpetual growth is dooming our children’s children to a bleak future. There is only so much room for us to grow plants to feed us all, to dig big holes in the ground to feed our hunger for finite resources and to suck water from our rivers and streams. We can already see the dangers that come from plundering the deeper ocean beds in our insatiable thirst for that very valuable ‘liquid black gold’.

I believe we are facing a great challenge. Now is the time to decide how to balance economic prosperity with a true understanding and appreciation of the natural systems that produce our clean air, fresh water and healthy foods.

The dam is sunk! YIPPEE

November 11th, 2009

What wonderful news we hear today on what is a day when we remember our heroes. Peter Garrett has delivered the goods. He has used common sense and scientific evidence to reject the Traveston Crossing Dam proposal. I can’t think of a better piece of news that I have heard in ages.

Congratulations must go to you the community. To everyone that wore a No Dam shirt or stuck a sticker on their car, to those that helped gather petitions and letters in their thousands, to the volunteers who stood tirelessly at every stall raising the profile of the no dam stance I salute and thank you.

To Glenda, to Steve, to Tanzi, to Darryl, to Beryl, to Elizabeth, to Lindsay to our foam turtle wearer and to each and everyone else who I have forgotten to name but who worked tirelessly and never ever gave up my heartfelt gratitude. Without ordinary people doing extraordinary things this wonderful victory would not have come to pass.

To our absolutely fabulous media journalists and editors at Ch 7 and Ch 9 and at the local print media especially the Fraser Coast Chronicle, my thanks. Without the constant focus and never say die attitude of yourselves I don’t believe we may have achieved this result.

LET THE MARY RUN FREE FOREVER.

Now  I am going to run around and jump for joy like a happy fish….

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