Concern over The Gap residents proposal
Below is the text of an email sent to the President and Secretary of SOWN the content is self evident. This is followed by comments from the president on this issue and a report on a lengthy conversation held with two members of The Gap Residents Association (TGRA).
> I just wanted to alert you to our concerns over The Gap Residents' Association masterplan (attached) for Walton Bridge Reserve. See their email announcement below. The proposal would severely compromise Walton Bridge Reserve bushcare site.
> Rob and I, with a number of other dedicated local volunteers, have been managing Walton Bridge Reserve bushcare site since 2003.
> Our work during this time has included:
> - working with Brisbane City Council Habitat Brisbane program
> - removing rubbish and litter from the creeks (Walton Bridge Reserve is at the junction of Fish Creek and Enoggera Creek)
> - removing weeds from the site including weed trees, vines and grasses that were choking right down to the water's edge
> - replanting with locally-native plant species, more than 10,000 plants in 12 years, including about 1,000 since 1 May 2015
> - cleaning up debris and damaged vegetation after flooding - major floods during this time were in 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013 and 1 May 2015.
> Our concerns are:
> - The plan demonstrates a lack of sympathy for existing remnant bushland and revegetated sections of the creeks. Walton Bridge is an important section of the local wildlife corridor.
> - The plan would require removal of large amounts of vegetation this includes important remnant vegetation and revegetation areas.
> - Significant construction is proposed for the flood zone.
> - Hard finishes on playgrounds and discovery area will increase overland flow and compromise remaining vegetation during heavy rain.
> - The plan would significantly reduce the amount of open space, in what is already a fairly small park.
> - The feeding of ducks and other birds in a natural setting is not recommended by ecological scientists. This feature requires removal of huge remnant and replanted trees and exposes one of the best shaded habitats to destructive affects of too much light.
> - The proposed bush trail mountain bike would leave no open space in Jevons St Park and require removal of important remnant vegetation.
> - There is no need for additional carparks. The park areas are small and expansion of parking will further reduce the area available for recreation. The parks are easily reached by walking from bus stops and existing parking, and can be easily reached from the existing walkway along Enoggera Creek connecting Romea St, the local shopping centre and schools. There is ample parking for the size of the park. Increased parking in a small park will increase the risks to children playing in the park.
> - A new raised boardwalk in the creek bed will be an expensive engineering task and vulnerable to being washed away each year in floods. It will trap woody debris and cause erosion to the creek banks. There is already an existing walkway along Enoggera Creek. Money would be better spent helping volunteers control the weeds and rubbish along this walkway.
> - The aquatic discovery area requires removal of large remnant trees and revegetated areas. It is putting built structure in the creek at a spot severely affected by flooding. It would trap flood debris and likely be washed away in the first major flood. Debris from Enoggera Creek makes its way to the Brisbane River and Moreton Bay. CityCats services have been cancelled in the past because of flood debris.
> - The amphitheatre is fine as it is. Terracing the lawn would make it harder to maintain and a new stage is not required, the existing one is perfectly fine.
> - The "new lookout" would have to be 10m high or more to see anything and would be built right in the middle of a) the centre of the best remnant vegetation and b) probably Aboriginal meeting-camping area.
> - There is no mention of the Auntie Rita Huggins memorial - disrespectful.
> - There is no sign of the existing sewage system. There are a number of access points in the Reserve which need to be upgraded. This is a good opportunity to grapple with this issue.
> I've contacted Cr Steven Toomey's office and Kate Jones office.
> Cheers, Anne
Comments from the President
Firstly I would like to applaud the initiative and work of The Gap Residents' Association (TGRA) and their website. As president, I have been contacted twice and held lengthy phone conversations with members of the Gap Residents Association. My first phone conversation was conducted while I was on the banks of Enoggera Creek, before I had a detailed inspection of the proposal. I endorsed the efforts of TGRA and offered the support of SOWN. By the time I received a second phone call this time from Chris Taylor of TGRA, I had visited the 4061 website (www.4061.org.au)and also seen the TGRA masterplan in Cr. Toomey's office. Chris Taylor made it clear that this plan is only an ambit claim and a conversation starter. I did raise most of the points put forward by Anne Jones and a few of my own relating to issues on hard creek banks and the impact on aquatic organisms.
Unfortunately, their proposal has not considered the accumulated and current work of SOWN members on the site and the loss of remnant vegetation. Additionally, it seems to demonstrate a poor understanding of the role of the riparian zone in relation to waterways and the detrimental impact of their master plan on the local ecology. This plan is designed to deal with social issues of residents, which are valid in their own right. The approach to SOWN, by contacting me directly, is clearly an afterthought in an attempt to justify their ecological credentials. I made it clear that this plan would need to be redrawn, with a lot of modification, before it would receive support from SOWN.
As president of a community group I know how difficult it is to engage the community and I applaud TGRA for their effort. TGRA have opened a dialogue with SOWN and hopefully, with other community groups and individuals, which is encouraging. I would hope we can have a meaning dialogue with all community groups and encourage them to understand our objectives and the benefits of environmental restoration to the community.
Cr. Toomey has sent me a letter asking for comments on the proposal. He has also advised that he will be "holding a community consultation afternoon at Walton Bridge Reserve Lions Shelter on 13 September from 3pm."
I urge members to attend this meeting; in the meantime members should contact Cr. Toomey's Office and submit their views regarding the master plan.
Cr. Steve Toomey's email address is TheGap.Ward@bcc.qld.gov.au
Tools and equipment Please return to Nursery
SOWN is conducting an inventory of all tools and equipment and we need to assess the condition of our assets for insurance purposes. Please return any equipment to the nursery ASAP. Should you be unable to return items could you please contact me by email or phone and let me know what items you have borrowed.
mobile: 0409 536533
Saturday Volunteers Needed Urgently
Can you spare two hours once every two months to help out on Saturdays at the Nursery? Experienced bush carers are always welcome, but if you are not confident in your ability there is plenty to do and you assistance would be greatly appreciated. If you can help please contact Dawn Whyte, email firstname.lastname@example.org , tel. 3870 1747
Combined Nursery Day, Community Event, National Tree Day
What a great success, a big thank you to all those who helped on the day. The large crowd was well entertained and informed.
We need your wire trays
Wire trays are urgently needed at the nursery. Even if you only have one tray the nursery needs it. There are fewer than ten trays to fill new orders. You can drop your wire trays beside the gate at the nursery any time, volunteers will take them inside every few days. Thank you!
Our New Alderman
Cr Steven Toomey has taken over from Geraldine Knapp who retired recently. Steven is keen to meet SOWN members and visit our facilities. As SOWN President, I spent an hour with Steven on Wednesday and had a pleasant discussion where I attempt to inform him about the current state of affairs in SOWN. Our new alderman showed a keen interest in our activities as we discussed our operations and projects that are currently underway or are proposed for the near future.
Although he was only told about our meeting at lunch time he attend SOWN Management Committee Meeting last Wednesday night and met our executive.
He has already shown support for our activities by offering $250 and the loan of two marquees for our upcoming combined nursery day on the 26th July.
Steven is keen to get his hands dirty and join in our activities. I have invited him to visit the nursery on a Wednesday morning, meet our volunteers and join us for morning tea.
If you see Steven around the catchment, introduce yourself and let him know of your SOWN activities.
Welcome to our catchment Steven Toomey.
Save Our Waterways Now offers outdoor volunteering opportunities for corporate groups looking for a great day out.
Planting guides and tips
These resources should help you when choosing the best locally native plants for your bushcare site or garden. You can also visit the "Plants To Plant" section using the site navigation.
FIND YOUR LOCAL SOWN GROUP
SOWN has volunteer bushcare groups working on creek bank restoration throughout the Enoggera catchment including Enoggera Creek, Fish Creek and Ithaca Creek. Look here to find the group nearest you.