Minutes of meeting Nov 2012

Where: Mountains Community Resource Network Meeting Room, Lawson

When: Wednesday 21 November 2012 at 6pm

Present: Paul Vale (chair, Popes Glen, Centenary Reserve), Maeve Dunnart (Minnehaha Falls Katoomba), Mike Purtell (Deanei and Else Mitchell), Elizabeth Mitchell (Birdwood Gully), David King and Elly Chatfield (The Gully, Gibbergunyah, Faulc Lily Pond), Felipe Donoso (Community Gardens), Margaret and Warwick Tafe (Mt Riverview), Neil Stuart (Katoomba Falls Ck Valley), Rob Agars (Deanei Reserve), Ray Richardson (Nth Lawson), Lyndal Sullivan (BMCC, Minutes)

Apologies: Susan Jalaluddin (Cumberland Walkway), Shirley Brown (Minnehaha,Katoomba Creek, Brahma Kumaris, Leura Park), Clive Barker

Acceptance of Previous Minutes (August 2012) Ray/Paul

Treasurer’s Report

Sydney Credit Union Closing balance was $455.94, at 20 November, which includes anonymous donation of $100 for the conference. (Note: balance is now available online to view only)

Paul officially handed over financial records to Mike tonight, including a new accounting cash book. Mike will look further into operation of the account online in time for the Conference next year.

Matters Arising from Previous Minutes

  1. Recreation, sport and fundraising events on Bushcare sites

    Paul wrote to both Council and NPWS to ask what procedures cover the approval of events on Bushcare sites, and the opportunities for consultation and environmental assessment prior to approval. Also a copy of any policies that relate to environmental protection in the conduct of such events.

    Note: An interim response was received from NPWS the day after this meeting; no response has been received to date from BMCC.

  2. Reprint of ‘Living Near the Bush’

    Paul has had discussions with Brendon Doyle and Alan Page (BMCS webmaster) about the process of putting the booklet on the BMCS website in sections.

    Action: members to send suggested changes to Paul using the Word document circulated.

  3. Bushcare Network Conference

    Date: Saturday 31 August 2013

    Venue booking at Mid Mtns Community Hall

    Confirmed Speakers: Linda Thomas and Eric Mahony, Margaret Baker, Alan Lane

    Suggested issues for workshop groups were:

    • Sydney Water
    • Fire impacts on sites
    • Weed sales
    • NPWS-BMCC cooperation
    • Project ideas
    • Catchment /combined groups
    • History of where Bushcare has come from, current issues and where we are going — maybe at plenary session?

    It was agreed: that the structure be basically as follows:

    8.30–9.00amRegistration, tea, coffee etc.
    9.00am–10.30amSpeaker: Margaret Baker Geology of BM (topic to be confirmed)
    10.30–10.45amMorning tea
    10.45–11.45amPopes Glen Journey: vision, need and planning, and then applying for a grant or other funding/resources. Progress to date with E.T. Grant, including cooperative links with other community groups. Alan Lane and Paul Vale.
    11.45am–12.30pmFunding available for specific projects : Linda Thomas, Eric Mahony, Ray Richardson?
    1.15–2.00pmPlanning time for individual groups or connected groups to ‘nut’ out some cooperative projects, both small and larger, to have on their wish list; or to discuss LGA-wide issues (e.g. Group historic records/collation, fire impacts, bush friendly plant stalls etc.)
    2.00–2.45pmGroup feedback on proposed ideas

    It was agreed: that a Working Group be formed of Margaret, Paul, Mike and Rob to plan the details of the conference and report back to the next meeting.

  4. External Project funding

    1. Popes Glen proposal was funded by Environment Trust to $233,132. The project is to remove willows, stabilise a headwall holding silt and to protect the National Park downstream from movement of this sediment.
    2. Paul is continuing to investigate bequest facility to provide opportunities to have funds for Bushcare projects.
  5. Hawkesbury-Nepean Catchment Management Authority

    Recent changes of concern brought about by the NSW govt in environmental areas:

    • Reduced CMAs from 13 to 11 (Sydney CMA now incorporated into HNCMA)
    • Reducing total budget of CMAs from $38 mill (2011–12) to 27 mill
    • CMAs will be under local Land Services section of the Dept Primary Industries; LLS is focussed on agriculture and grazing, with little mention of biodiversity
  6. Bushcare Major Day Out

    Margaret attended the event and gave feedback that it was worth continuing for a number of reasons as well as being enjoyable:

    • As part of a national event, it is good to be included and benefit from national awareness.
    • Interesting going to a different site, to learn about its history and what they are doing.
    • Important to have people from different groups discussing bushcare matters.
    • Good to have a flat site which is accessible for all, and to offer a range of activities.
  7. Notifications of Developments

    Action: Paul to write to a councillor to ask him/her to investigate why the resolution of 12 October to notify the Bushcare office of all DAs affecting adjacent Bushcare sites has not been properly implemented.

  8. Survey of Bushcare volunteers

    Review of BMCC Conservation Volunteers Policy is proposed for 2013, which is likely to involve a survey of Bushcare volunteers and extensive consultation. If this is to go ahead in 2013, Linda Thomas is to be invited to attend the February Network meeting to discuss.

    Bushcare Officers wished to seek the views of volunteers about some specific issues relating to running of the program. The meeting suggested some refinements to the five draft questions to ask participants during their BC workday.

    It was suggested that a separate survey be developed for children, also that it run over a min two month period.

  9. 2010 photographic project

    Discussion around the value of committing resources to prepare the 2010 set of photos for the Local Studies section of the library.

    It was agreed that it was important that these photos be recorded in local history; and

    • that this work should not be at the expense of the normal support for the program, hence a grant should be sought;
    • that a local history grant be sought to ensure this project does not compete with on ground works;
    • that all groups with historic records, some dating back over 20 years should also have them recorded in a complementary project; and
    • that collating records be considered at a Conference workshop, by inviting someone to show groups how to collate these records.

General Business

  1. Meeting Dates for 2013

    It was agreed to try Network meetings every 2 months: Feb, April, June, early August, October, December. Meeting nights continue to be Wednesdays 6–9pm.

    Actions: Lyndal to circulate dates in these minutes, for all to check. Proposed dates: Wednesday 13 February, 3 April, 5 June, 7 August, 2 October and 4 December.

  2. Bushcare Group Catchment Coordination

    Lyndal reported briefly on the three catchment groups currently operating:

    • Fitzgerald Creek
    • Katoomba Creek
    • Leura Cascades
  3. The Gully Project/Garguree Swampcare

    David King gave an outline of this project in Katoomba, including recent success in coordination with other groups working in this subcatchment.

    In October a day was organised in Gully to bring all groups working there together. The Gully Project funding provided resources needed. These on site days provide opportunities for elders to come along and meet groups and also for people to come along and be part of the group, even if they can’t weed.

    There are plans for a combined day in the mid Mountains. David and Elly are involved in three Aboriginal Bushcare groups in the Blue Mountains: Faulconbridge Lily Pond, Gibbergunyah at Hazelbrook, and Garguree in the Gully, Katoomba.

  4. Promotion ideas

    1. Displays

      Ray circulated photos of the annual display at Floriade in Canberra, and also examples of literature. Ideas discussed for adoption locally were:

      • a mobile display which could go to various local events. A permanent trailer set up would reduce the amount of preparation time required. David and Elly have access to a few trailers, one of which could be used for bushcare promotion.
      • a live plant display in the outside section of the Cultural Centre for a period of a couple of weeks as a lead up to the Bushcare Major Day Out

      Action: that Ray develop these ideas and circulate details.

    2. Website

      The group agreed that a separate page for the Network would be helpful, with the facility for making direct contacts. Active members only should have access to some sections, whilst other sections will be open to public.

      It was agreed that the name of the website should be changed to something more positive and comprehensive e.g. ‘bluemountainsbushcare’.

    3. ‘Business’ Cards

      It was agreed that BCN produce business cards that give basic contact information, the BCN logo, and a motto. Also to use the sample supply printed by Paul until these run out and there is agreement on the permanent design.

      It was agreed that BCN develop a Mission statement. Paul suggested the following motto and Mission statement for discussion at the next meeting:

      Draft ‘Mission Statement’:

      A formal networking group created to share information and cross-fertilize ideas among all local Bushcare and Landcare groups across the Blue Mountains LGA.

      Draft motto:

      ‘Sharing bushcare energy’

  5. Tree Preservation Order

    A draft outline of the current situation of weed exemptions was circulated for information and comment (see attachment)

  6. Lawson Golf Course site

    It was agreed that Elizabeth be given approval to continue to work on this project on behalf of the BCN.

  7. General Environmental News:

    • NSW Biosecurity Strategy Submission circulated. Paul was thanked for initiating and coordinating a submission.
    • Community Forum for local residents of the Hawkesbury-Nepean and Blue Mountains areas 9.30am–3.30pm, Saturday 24 November. Mike volunteered to attend on behalf of the Network.
    • ‘Protect the Places You Love’ campaign/Federal EPBC powers devolving to State Governments… information on www.placesyoulove.org. The campaign to resist the devolution of powers is supported by thirty-four community based organisations.
    • Coal Seam Gas Blue Mountains. More information available at www.stopcsgbm.net.au or google ‘stop coal seam gas blue mountains’.
  8. Blue Mountains Crossings event May 2013

    Possible Bushcare group involvement would be left to individual groups and Elisabeth to follow up as part of the Lawson project.

  9. Update on Lower Mountains Sewer Issue

    The option to release untreated sewerage into the Fitzgerald Creek has been abandoned. Problems were found at the Winmalee STP which meant there was another way to address both problems at the STP for a lesser cost, and create capacity to deal with increased flows.

  10. TAFE Bush Regeneration Course

    Action: that Rob send a letter of support for the TAFE bush regeneration course to Roza Sage, explaining how it is an integral part of the successful Bushcare movement.

Meeting closed at 9.30pm

NB Picnic change of date — to Sat 13 April


Tree Preservation Order Changes To Encourage Residents To Remove Weeds

What is known as the Tree Preservation Order (TPO) is the name for a section of the Blue Mountains Local Environment Plans (LEPs) that deals with management of vegetation.

There are 2 LEPs, the one relevant to a particular tree of concern will depend on its location. As a general rule (but not always), the town centres and urban areas are covered by LEP 2005, whilst the perimeter areas of towns with large bushland properties and rural areas are covered by LEP 91. Check the Council zoning maps to be sure. LEP 91 is currently being reviewed and will be amalgamated with LEP 2005 in future.

Summary of recent changes

Council approved changes to both LEPs (at the Council meeting 15 March 2012) to encourage residents to remove environmental and noxious weeds. These plants are listed in the Development Control Plan (DCP Appendix F2).

Most weeds on the list can be removed without a TPO permit/approval. Some weeds can only be removed without approval if the tree is less than a prescribed height (mostly 6m or 10m). In the case of Pinus Radiata it needs to be below 10m and located in certain zones, for it to be legal to remove without a TPO permit. The weed list can be found at www.weedsbluemountains.org.au. This DCP list also clearly shows which weeds have a height limit for exemption from a TPO permit.

Legal Details

Details of LEP 2005 clauses:

Clause 54 of LEP 2005 specifies that a tree should not be cut down or damaged without a written permit from Council, unless it is one of the listed exceptions. One of the exceptions are plants listed in the Schedule entitled ‘Weeds of the Blue Mountains’ within the Better Living DCP (LEP 2005, clause 54 (2)(g) and clause 55).

Particular mention is made of Salix, Populus and Pinus radiata.

The following species can only be removed without a permit if less than 10 metres in height:

  1. Salix spp. (all Willow species), or
  2. Populus spp. (all Poplar species), or
  3. Pinus Radiata, which must also not be located on land:
    1. within the Living—Conservation zone, or
    2. to which Part 1 (Mount Victoria), Part 6 (Wentworth Falls), Part 7 (Lawson), Part 8 (Hazelbrook) or Part 9 (Springwood) of Schedule 1 (Locality management within the Villages) applies.

Details re LEP 91

Changes to LEP 91 clause 10.11 have not yet been made on the BMCC website.

These minutes and their attachment may be downloaded as a PDF from here: Minutes of the Bushcare Network Nov 2012.