From the Mayor’s Desk

Cr Dominic King

Cr Dominic King

BLUEBERRY FARMING

The findings of the recently released report by Southern Cross University on the Water Quality on Bucca Bucca Creek and the potential impacts of intensive plant agriculture reinforce the need for the measures taken in council’s recent planning proposal for blueberry growing in our shire.

The report estimated that creeks within a catchment with 15 per cent blueberry land use may have nitrate and nitrite concentrations greater than 25-fold higher than the ANZECC water quality trigger values and that 24 per cent of nitrate and nitrite concentration samples at blueberry sites measured were between 50 and 800 fold higher than the ANZECC trigger value.  One of the recommendations is to increase riparian buffer zones by planting trees, shrubs and macrophytes.

The findings of this report further validate the environmentally responsible intent of council’s planning proposal currently awaiting a Gateway determination. Of particular relevance is the recommendation to increase riparian buffer zones, which accords with the approach advocated by council to observe buffer zones to riparian features and retain them in their vegetated state if currently vegetated.

BUSH REGENERATION

Council is pleased to be in partnership with EnviTE Environment and NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service for the Dorrigo world heritage ecological restoration project. Rehabilitation works will be implemented at three sites in Dorrigo National Park and Dangar Falls Reserve. Bush regenerators will be working to manage invasive weeds including lantana and privet.

Council is particularly excited about this project as it has enabled the area of works to be extended to a new area on the opposite side of the river and will complement our previous bush regeneration projects at Dangar Falls Reserve. The project is supported by the NSW Government through the NSW Environmental Trust.

RECENT COMMUNITY EVENTS

The Queen’s Baton Relay passing through Bellingen on February 1 was a very special event for the shire. I would like to extend a sincere thank you to all who supported this event including Kye Ruigrok, Rivers Dance Centre 86, Bellingen High School band, Buddabang Barri dance group, Kaya Boom, Gloria Mercy, Kirren Brown, the businesses and offices who decorated their windows the Bellingen Museum, the Bellingen branch of the Red Cross and the Bellingen Library.

Thank you to all the Bellingen schools for engaging so many school children in the event and a special thank you to all the volunteers who supported the day from the Bellingen, Dorrigo and Urunga units of the SES and the RFS. If you missed it, follow this link to see all the action and to view the Bellingen photo gallery https://www.gc2018.com/article/queens-baton-journeys-bush-beach

Congratulations to all the nominees and winners of the 2018 Bellingen Shire Australia Day Awards.  Thanks go to the Australia Day Committee, the Urunga business and service groups, Barbara Weaver, Jo Pierce and Robert Canning who provided such uplifting performances on the day.

HAVE A SAY ON RECREATIONAL SPACES

Finally I encourage interested residents to take the time to read the draft Gleniffer Reserves Plan of Management and the draft Master Plan for Atherton Drive which are currently on public exhibition.  Both can be found on the ‘Create’ community engagement hub at http://create.bellingen.nsw.gov.au

Until next time,

Cr Dominic King

9 February 2018