Bega District Letters to the Editor, June 19

This snowman in Nimmitabel was losing parts of itself by Monday morning as the weather turned more to a light rain. Picture: Alasdair McDonald
This snowman in Nimmitabel was losing parts of itself by Monday morning as the weather turned more to a light rain. Picture: Alasdair McDonald

Dismay at destruction

After 15 years volunteering with the Candelo Landcare project it is hard not to feel dismay at council's heavy handed approach to recent roadside clearing along Sharpe Street Candelo.

After what I'm sure was a well-intentioned Councillors in the Community meeting, where the issue of “line of sight safety” was raised, council agreed that a significant safety issue existed.

What I fail to understand was council's subsequent response where a large swathe of established plantings were mowed to the ground. Surely the work could have been undertaken with a bit more consideration and regard to the wider issues.

I know from watching that awesome slashing machine that it was capable of more discretionary thinning, so I'm sure council could have achieved their safety goals without removing so much and by doing so offending so many members of the Candelo community.

Council's road service has over-reached in more ways than one. Once work progressed from the road reserve and into the Candelo Parklands (between Panbula and Eden Street) they moved into highly contested territory.

Can I remind councillors that the Candelo Area Committee still regularly meets and provides a forum for the many competing interests that use the Candelo Parklands. It might have been a good place to start consulting the community on matters affecting the parklands. 

Council's general manager Leanne Barnes has now written and assured us that  the work was done with no intent of environmental vandalism. She has also acknowledged there were gaps in communication and understanding of the history of the site. I thank Ms Barnes for her sincere apology on behalf of council and look forward to ways that we can work with council in the future.

We too wish to achieve the right balance between site stability and site safety. So we will wait to see how council proposes to manage the area once the extent of draining works is assessed.

Philippa Street, Candelo Landcare

Missing answers

Denise Dion's headline “$45,000 for frivolous questions” ought to read $45,000 spent and still no answers.

Judy Geary, Bega

Burning no protection

For the benefit of Dr Bill Johnston (Letters, May 29), credible science tells us that broad acre forest burning does not provide leverage against wildfire, in this bio-region. Greater protection for life and property comes from focusing fuel reduction efforts in the immediate vicinity of human developments.

I do agree that about 100mm of rain is required to moisten the soil profile, where soils are about a metre deep. However, the reduction in soil water holding capacity means regular rainfall is required to avoid extensive canopy die-back.

Keen observers would have noticed an increase in the number of brown leaves in forests over the past couple of weeks, due to a lack of moisture. Regrettably there aren't too many people who care about the decline of our forests.

Rather, NSW government agencies have learnt that all one has to do to get rid of native species, koalas for example, is to burn forest. Hence the 'whole of government' approach to koalas has involved the burning of some 10,000 hectares in Dampier and Moruya State Forests in the past couple of months.

Not surprisingly an increase in fire intensity can be expected when the majority of tree leaves are brown and dry. 

However, it seems everyone has to stomach the NSW government's ridiculous claim that broad acre burning does not reduce soil moisture content and therefore does not increase the probability forests will again turn brown and increase wildfire intensity.

Robert Bertram, Bermagui