Anger at forest debris
Eurobodalla Shire residents are furious about the amount of debris left by the Forestry Corporation of NSW after recent logging of Benandarah State forest along the Princes Highway to the north of Batemans Bay.
We're angry and afraid, and with good reason.
The waste is spread over hectares. There's a carpet of logs, branches, twigs, loose bark and leaves left behind after NSW Forestry's taken the desirable timber, and in places it's knee-deep and more.
It's also so dry it literally crackles underfoot. It's like the setting for a gigantic bonfire - all it takes is a stray spark, or a cigarette tossed out of a car window, and this hillside would explode into flames.
With a westerly wind, which is the prevailing wind direction here, the fire would leap the Princes Highway into Murramarang National Park in minutes, placing numerous small coastal communities and holiday makers at grave risk.
In late 2015, the RFS raised concerns about the bushfire risks of logging debris left in the Nullica State Forest, near Eden.
The effects of climate change are resulting in longer bushfire seasons and increased intensity of fires when these occur.
At a minimum, you'd think the Forestry Corporation would be aware of how critically important it is to ensure that its activities don't contribute to an already high level of fire danger.
The destruction brought about by logging activity is clearly visible from the highway ... the evidence of reckless and dangerous practice is here, right before our eyes.
The NSW Forestry Corporation needs to address this immediate error of judgement before a tragedy occurs, and at the same time to radically rethink the way it conducts operations in the future.
Friends of Durras.
'Big questions on big ticket items'
Some "big ticket" motions were on Tuesday's Eurobodalla Shire Council meeting agenda but went through unanimously without a single question or explanation from councillors!
What about the Annual Report's $3.5 million commitment to major contracts for aspects of the Batemans Bay Regional Aquatic, Arts and Leisure Centre?
Council doesn't yet know what to do until after tenders are called if/after the state Regional Planning Panel approves the DA!
The council happily rejected the idea of earmarking proceeds from the sale of council's share of Southern Phone, worth some $800,000, for job creation projects. That suggestion got knocked back because there is no certainty the sale would go ahead. Can't do it for $800,000 but $3.5 million is OK, eh?
In the September Quarter Budget Review, the deferment of a $16.57 million capital expenditure item for the BBRAALC to 2020-2021 didn't rate a mention. Councillors might have had this explained during a briefing but what about letting the community know? Where was this money coming from? It's not in line with the grants that aren't in the bank yet, so was it coming from council reserves or maybe new loans - again for a project that council doesn't know will ever happen?
The other unquestioned matter concerned council's $117 million investments in bank deposits. Some questions might have been raised about the effects future Reserve Bank interest decisions might have on council's investment income.
Wouldn't you think that raising, recording and passing on the above sort of information would be more important uses of meeting time than the 20 minutes or so - it seemed longer - being spent on what signs were forgotten to be provided in Narooma?
Are our councillors "with it"? Questions have been asked and I'll let you know if I get any answers!