Wednesday, February 09, 2011

flora and fauna strategy - the outlandish claims

Readers of this blog might have seen the newspaper article in this week's Mail Newspaper about the Shire's draft Flora and Fauna Strategy.

The article contained inaccurate and incorrect details about the draft strategy and completely misrepresents the intent of the strategy.

I love my roses as much as the next person, they've had a battering over the weekend so this isn't my best specimen, but it's the only one at the moment. To suggest the draft Flora and Fauna Strategy will make it law that you can't plant roses in your garden is one of the silliest claims I've ever heard.

I assure all our Rose Growers, you will have ongoing business in the Shire of Yarra Ranges.

One of the most outlandish claims is that the Shire won't allow people to plant roses, what absolute nonsense. No where in the draft does it talk about residents not being able to plant roses or other non indigenous plants on their properties.

There has also been misreporting that the strategy does not support fuel reduction burning, yet another piece of misinformation, the strategy does not recommend against fuel reduction burning in fire prone areas.

There is no conflict between the strategy and the Victorian Bushfire Royal Commission recommendations. The strategy also aligns with State Government policy on native vegetation, the Native Vegetation Management Framework.

The Yarra Ranges is known nationally and internationally for its flora and fauna and this includes exotic species. Anyone travelling through the Dandenong Ranges will recognise the unique mix of exotic gardens amongst our indigenous Mountain Ash forests, you only have to look as far as the beautiful George Tindale, Pirianda or Nicholas gardens. The draft strategy is about protecting and enhancing our natural assets, both native and exotic. It's been developed to deal with the enhancement, survival and biodiversity of flora and fauna in the Shire.

The strategy is not about putting the environment ahead of public safety and Yarra Ranges has a raft of Emergency Management and Fire Prevention plans to ensure we do as much as possible to ensure public safety.

The most unfortunate thing about this article is that is confuses the community about the intent of the draft and seeks to derail important community consultation on the document.

I urge anyone who has questions to contact the shire's Biodiversity and Conservation Coordinator on 1300 368 333 and find our the real facts about the draft strategy. Don't believe the ridiculous nonsense in the paper, it's simply untrue and just a headline grab.

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At 12:05 PM, Anonymous Kate Warne said...

Thanks Samantha,
I've just pointed those facts out to someone myself.
We do need to ensure that people are correctly informed and it's been suggested to me that it's too difficult to understand. Can we, who do understand, make it a priority to help others to understand it better.

At 1:51 PM, Blogger Samantha Dunn said...

Thank you Kate, the Shire is in the process of collating a fact sheet so this very complex and technical strategy can be made much easier to understand. Thanks for your help in getting the right facts out.

At 5:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Samantha, I think your protests are misleading. Let me give you an example (and I have others): We live on acreage in a Rural Conservation Zone with an ESO. About 2/3 of our block is regrowth (not remnant) forest, 1/3 pasture/cleared. We are enthusiastic permaculture practitioners with an orchard,chookyard,veggie plot,indigenous garden and lots of roses. Had we wanted to develop our block under the current regime, we would have had to have 100% indigenous vegetation (Landscape Guidelines, p.10, which are called up in the FFS). My question is: what part of "100% minimum indigenous vegetation" means we can grow roses?
yours etc
Jeni F

At 8:03 PM, Blogger Samantha Dunn said...

Hi Jeni, if you have a planning permit under consideration, yes you need to follow the landscape guidelines, and you are correct, that means 100% indigenous in your zoning. However there is nothing to stop you planting roses, they just cannot be considered as part of your landscape plan. What an absolute nonsense that the shire would stop people planting roses and veggie patches. I can't believe that people think it's true.

At 9:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said... does that mean you can say you will abide by the permit conditions, then ignore them?

...I'm a bit puzzled by that.

At 2:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So Samantha, when could someone in Jeni's example plant roses?

After the two year waiting period when shire goons come to your house to make sure the 100% indigenous plants are still alive and the homeowner is relatively safe from their prying eyes?

If you can't have roses, or any other non-native in your landscape plan, at what point can you start planting non-natives?

Also, it says in the FFMS that when a property needs to comply with the Wildfire Management Overlay, priority is given to the removal of exotic vegetation.

If the bushfires taught us anything it was that exotics withstood the fires better than natives. It make sense that priority should be given to the removal of natives and not exotics.

Let's be honest. After a landscape plan is done, you can't remove the natives and there will be no room left on the property for exotics. Especially with all the canopy trees that need to be planted as per the guidlines.

At 5:22 PM, Anonymous andrew said...

i to live on acerage but the shire have informed me that for the removal of 1 tree that was just outside the 10/30 rule exemption i will be required to plant 60 indigenous trees and shrubs in its place how can this be putting people above fire management

At 10:11 AM, Blogger Samantha Dunn said...

Hello all, I suggest you click this link to find out the details of the Draft Strategy

If you've got planning issues, you'll need to take them up with our planners. The Draft Strategy does not influence native vegetation offsets, which is currently guided by state government legislation.

I have plenty of canopy coverage and roses - it is possible.

If you want clarity I suggest you call our Biodiversity and Conservation officer on 1300 368 333 rather than believe everything your read in the papers.

At 9:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can't grow a decent rose under a canopy Samantha. A few struggling miserable blooms maybe. You will certainly never see a tomato or a lemon either.

The fact remains that the Shire is being both bullying and intrusive on our fundamental right to garden and protect our lives and property as we see fit.

There is no such thing as an indigenous garden. It's called "bush" and it's a fire dependent eco system that we inherited from the aborigines. It's just not a sensible thing to live near, let alone within one.

Regards Ross Mcleod

At 2:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just like to thankyou Samantha for putting up with differing voices on your blog.

Shows a bigness of heart I reckon.


At 1:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrew, since Samantha didn't offer where you could find the DSE rules on offsets, I would call the DSE and find out what they say. All I could find on their website regarding offsets was that it pertained to the removal of 5 trees or more. You may not be required to have any offsets at all.

Also, check what overlays are now on your property. The Council has been reviewing all properties and haphazardly slapping overlays on everything. It's a mess. But it is their way of ensuring they have total control over your property. I hope they've kept good records of what the overlays were before they started doing this so the community can compare what the overlays were to what they are now.


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