Sunday, July 17, 2011

save sylvia creek

Today I joined with concerned community members, environment groups and my fellow Councillors, Crs Jeanette McRae and Tim Heenan in the forests of Toolangi.

We were there to show our objection to logging in this region, specifically Sylvia Creek, the coupes know as Freddo (297-826-0002) and Gun Barrel (297-526-0001). Over 100 people were in attendance, a show of real commitment given the chilly, wet conditions.

Yarra Ranges has had a long history of opposing logging in the Shire of Yarra Ranges. In 2007 we opposed logging in Melbourne's water catchments, in 2010 we opposed logging in the Toolangi region because of its impact on tourism, the local economy and environment and this year we signed the Ethical Paper Pledge, pledging to only purchase copy paper with no native forest content.

From left to right: Cr's Jeanette McRae, Samantha Dunn and Tim Heenan of the Shire of Yarra Ranges. Council feels strongly that the Ethical Paper Pledge is an accurate reflection of our commitment to sustainability, protection of the environment, corporate social responsibility and local community needs as outlined in our procurement policy.

This year council also submitted to the VicForests Timber Release Plan (TRP) to outline our concerns about the proposed logging in the region. It has been disappointing to learn that none of the issues raised by the Shire of Yarra Ranges have been taken into consideration by VicForests or the DSE.

In relation to the logging of this particular area council raised a number of issues, specifically around the protection of threatened species habitat.

Council is aware of the extensive impact of the 2009 bushfires on habitat required by threatened species. Coupled with the loss of habitat through logging operations over past decades, there is increasingly less area of suitable habitat for threatened species, including the state's faunal emblem, the Leadbeater's Possum.

In the foreground are concerned community members, this gives an idea of the scale of the forests being logged.

The impact of past logging and the 2009 bushfires has also resulted in a reduced area available for logging, potentially bringing the commercial needs of VicForests into more direct competition for habitat required for threatened species.

Council is keen to ensure that all Special Protection Zone (SPZ) areas are adequately conserved and protected. Council believes this should include avoiding logging operations immediately adjacent to SPZ areas to avoid accidental over logging and unexpected impacts from regeneration burns on habitat critical to the survival of threatened species.

As part of our TRP submission council sought assurances that no new coupes would be granted that have any potential to destroy SPZ forest, or any areas of Leadbeater's Possums' Permanent Reserve System, or other areas previously set aside to secure/conserve forest biodiversity. We haven't had a response to these specific concerns as yet from VicForests, the DSE or the Minister, but given the logging coupe visited today overlaps an SPZ area, I'm certain there's not going to be any consideration of this or the threatened species who call this forest home.

A number of speakers addressed the group including the Yarra Ranges Councillors, I spoke about our long history of opposing logging and the impact of logging on our local tourism industry, Cr McCrae talked about the loss of biodiversity whilst Cr Heenan's message was 'no jobs on a dead planet'.

Council does not support logging of these Sylvia Creek coupes, 297-826-0002 (Freddo) and 297-526-0001 (Gun Barrell), amongst a long list of other coupes that threaten forest biodiversity and species on the brink of extinction.

Council does not support the logging of any coupe either adjacent to Special Protection Zone areas and/or Leadbeater's Possum Permanent Reserve System.

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At 11:03 PM, Blogger Michael said...

Copy of Yarra Ranges speeches here:
And preliminary

Regards Michael

At 12:24 PM, Blogger Samantha Dunn said...

Michael this is certainly not directed at you.

I often receive offensive comments whenever I post a story about logging, I will no longer be publishing offensive comments on my blog in relation to this or any published stories.

I have alerted readers to this fact on the front page.


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