Some 70 residents of the Tilba district met this week to explore the possibility of registering the area as a biosphere reserve to preserve its distinct environmental and cultural features for future generations.
The community forum, held on Monday, October 17, was hosted by Tilba Environment Landcarers and the Tilba District Chamber of Commerce.
Mark Stubbings, chair of the landscape sub-committee of the Tilba District Strategic Plan, is also a member of Tilba Environment Landcarers.
"We thought the area had great natural qualities, businesses, agriculture and tourism that put together was unique and we wanted it to be sustainable for future generations," Mr Stubbings said.
Two years ago they agreed a UNESCO biosphere reserve accreditation was a good model.
Meanwhile the Tilba District Chamber of Commerce applied for a grant to prepare a strategic plan for the area from Corunna Lake bridge to the Wallaga Lake and Dignams Creek bridges.
"When the chamber got the grant 18 months ago we said we have these ideas for a biosphere reserve so now we are implementing the strategic plan and the biosphere forum was one element of that."
At the forum, Australia's leading expert on biosphere reserves, Professor Peter Bridgewater from Canberra's Australian National University, presented an overview of what biosphere reserves are, what they comprise and how to approach UNESCO for accreditation.
David Moore, manager of environment and sustainability policy at Sunshine Coast Regional Council, explained why the Sunshine Coast had chosen to become Australia's latest UNESCO-accredited biosphere reserve..
Eurobodalla Shire councillor Anthony Mayne talked about some council initiatives including its biodiversity strategy and climate action plan "which is integral to what we are doing in a way", Mr Stubbings said.
Three council managers with an interest in biospheres also attended.
"There was very good community engagement and a desire to pursue this as an idea for the Tilba district," Mr Stubbings said.
He invited people to register their interest in joining a sub-committee.
"Already we have interest from long-term residents, architects, town planners, ecologists, local businesses and potentially Indigenous representatives so the community is wanting to get involved and work out what the next steps might be."
Some people who registered have considerable knowledge and information about the area's history and background.
"We want to pursue the idea of the biosphere reserve because it is something the community accepts and designs. We like it being a community-based idea."
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