Forest Fight Kicks Off At Boambee East As Friends Of Pine Creek Reconvenes

More than 60 people attended the meeting.

 

MORE than 60 people attended the first of two meetings to fight plans to log State Forest compartments on Glennifer Rd.

Local environmentalists noticed recently that the Forestry Corporation planning portal indicated that logging would commence in the compartments.

This resulted in a group calling itself ‘Friends of Pine Creek’ to reconvene after several years hiatus to discuss strategies to save an area that they say has high conservation value.

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The ‘Friends’ say that the 500ha proposed for logging is a corridor for koalas between the Bongil Bongil National Park and the Pine Creek State Forest.

Koalas and endangered gliders have both been recorded there.

Caroline Joseph, from the Bellingen Environment Centre, said, “We have been communicating over the years with Forestry Corporation and the Environment Protection Authority but the time for that is now past.”

Dr Tim Cadman, who chaired the meeting, has been active in saving forests for forty years, told the group that deforestation in NSW is worse than in the Amazon.

Coffs Harbour Councillor Sally Townley said, “There is a huge amount going wrong at the moment with our government’s approach to native animals and forests.”

She said that a study from the University of Newcastle about the effects of creating a Great Koala Park (instead of logging it) found that approximately 9000 jobs and $531 million would be added to the community over the next 15 years, compared to 5000 people employed in logging and related jobs on the entire North Coast and $30 million revenue.

She said an easy solution would be for the government to buy back timber contracts.

The Mayor of Bellingen Shire, Cr Dominic King told the group that he won’t be having any more meetings with Forestry Corporation.

Cr King said that Forestry Corporation claims it does minimal damage when logging but this is not what happens in practice.

He also said he was frustrated that there was no mention of droughts, fires, floods or climate change in meetings.

Cr King said arguments for preserving logging operations were similar to the arguments for coal, often citing potential job losses.

However, he said, Bellingen IGA employs more people than logging operations do in Bellingen Shire.

Kevin Evans, Chairperson of the National Parks Association, followed up by asking, “How do we talk to people who might be affected by phasing out logging?”

He said it has been done before, with state forests being designated as National Parks and the Government funding jobs transition.

He stressed that local efforts to defend forests had to go hand in hand with attempts to change policy.

He urged people to support Cate Faehrmann’s bill to establish a Great Koala Park by contacting ministers and crossbenchers.

Mr Evans said tourists come to see nature, not denuded forests and that the community creates national parks.

Dave Wood, from local group ‘Save Lot 2 Sawtell Road’, spoke about the fight to preserve Lot 2 Sawtell Rd, which he said contains three endangered plant species.

He said that Marion Grove residents signed the group’s petitions and reports that one even said, “We’ll lie down in front of bulldozers because we have nothing to lose!”

 

By Andrew VIVIAN

One thought on “Forest Fight Kicks Off At Boambee East As Friends Of Pine Creek Reconvenes

  1. All of Pine Creek State Forest, as well as all other state forests, are single species plantation forests. They have been logged multiple times for over a hundred years. I have seen most of Pine and Newry forests clear felled just in my life time. How they are somehow now high conservation value has me stumped. The same goes for the new Bongil Bongil Nation Park. They are about as unnatural a natural forest as you can get. Returning them to natural forests I could understand but that would mean heavily culling the majority of what stands there now and replanting a natural mix.
    Simply locking off what stands there now, as has been done with Bongil Bongil, is utter lunacy from a conversation stand point. It means totally unnatural diversity which leads to many problems but mostly presents a massive fire risk due to built up ground litter. This does not occur with the correct local species mix.

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