Bushranger Newsletter June 2020

 NEW GUIDED BUSHWALKS for YOU 

Several members are scoping and planning new guided bushwalks, both long and shorter, easier (1.5 hours) locally and further afield, so we can learn more about species diversity and wildlife while enjoying the beauty of nature. Our first is expected to be in Lane Cove National Park, and as soon as possible. If you would like to join the ‘LCBCS Walks Committee’ or are simply interested in joining us on guided walks, email: shaunaforrest@bigpond.com and put ‘Walks Committee’ in the subject line. 

Friends of Lane Cove National Park image: Darwinia fascicularis flowers June-Sept 

EDO Watchdog: Legal Principles for Covid 19 Response and Recovery 

EDO lawyers across the country are tracking the exercise of emergency powers on planning and environmental laws, and announcements of economic recovery measures. Environmental lawyers Nicole Sommer and Revel Pointon have produced five principles they think should guide how governments and decision-makers act to ensure we build back better for the environment. The principles are a benchmark against which government actions can be measured. Read more: edo-watchdog-legal-principles-for-covid-19/ 

‘The Weather Diaries’ 

Sydney Film Festival – online until 21 June 2020 

For the first time in its history, the Sydney Film festival is not running live. Instead, this year it’s online! One of the key environmental films in the Festival, and a local one at that, is ‘The Weather Diaries’. 

Sydney filmmaker Kathy Drayton muses on what the future holds for her daughter amidst the threats of climate change and mass extinction. Filmed over six years, the documentary reaches its climax in 2020, as temperatures soar and bushfires rage. 

Rent and watch the film online: https://ondemand.sff.org.au/film/the-weather-diaries/ 

COUNCIL FAILS to IMPLEMENT TARGETS for CLIMATE ACTION 

The Society recently sent all members our submission on its Draft Plans for 2020-2021 Operations and associated budget https://lanecovebushland.org.au/news/. C:\Users\Meron\Documents\LCBCS\bushranger\2020\2020_MAY_Draft – 2 SI.docxWe are pleased to see that Council is working to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. However, one of the key issues we raise is the absence of clear emission reduction targets for Council operations. It’s also important to recognise that Council operations only comprise 2% of total Lane Cove LGA emissions. Council is ideally placed to actively engage the local community in reducing its own carbon footprint and there is plenty of scope to do that. Working alongside each other, Council and community can make a significant difference. 

We were concerned that despite our submission highlighting the need for targets on Climate Change policy, the report/recommendation submitted to Council at last Monday’s meeting by an Officer stated: 

“Twenty (20) submissions from the community were received on the draft documents. Comments and responses on the points raised in these submissions are in (AT-1) to this report. The submissions are helpful in terms of future planning, however do not require the associated plans to be amended.” 

As we made one of the twenty submissions we know that the suggestions we made would indeed necessitate changes to Council’s Delivery Program/Operational Plan. 

The Society feels it is a waste of our and residents’ precious time writing submissions, if Council is not open to considering and discussing changes to its plans. Most disappointing and we join with others to call for more transparency in reporting results of this ‘consultation’ process. 

Council meetings Agendas and Minutes can be found on Council’s website: CouncilMeetingsandReports 

Rehabilitating Wildlife 

Vivienne Langford is a researcher with the climate change think tank Beyond Zero Emissions https://bze.org.au/. She recently presented a podcast on Radio 3CR about the rehabilitation of wildlife after the fires: https://www.3cr.org.au/beyondzero/episode-202006151700/rising-embers 

Bushland Society Annual Donations 

At our June meetings, the Society typically votes to donate to a few independent environmental organisations supporting NSW with experts that often inform and support us. 

This year the Nature Conservation Council (NCC), Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) and Total Environment Centre (TEC) received financial tokens of our appreciation. 

Developer uses Covid Gateway to bypass Council planning laws 

The Society has written extensively in the May Bushranger newsletter about the progress of development proposals for this very busy corner section of River Road, Northwood (vet, shops and petrol station) with a bush area behind it. https://lanecovebushland.org.au/bushranger-newsletters/ 

The Society was told by Councillor Zbik that the developer took the opportunity of (State Planning) Gateway procedures to bypass Council and go to the Land and Environment Court. The Sydney North Planning Panel has agreed to the change of zoning to B4 mixed use with aged care above. 

Council will prepare a Development Control Plan for public consultation. The developer has yet to submit a DA for approval. 

Lane Cove Bush Kids Report 

Lane Cove Bush Kids was begun by three members of the Society, young mothers whose submission was successful in winning a grant. 

The program of bush activities became so successful with young parents that we partnered with Council. 

Valerie Holland, Lane Cove Council’s Program Officer, has always been busy with Bush Kids, and still is, despite the Corona virus lock down. 

Term One 2020 program had a total 307 participants (176 children and 131 adults) over 13 activities and 950 Facebook Followers. 

Term Two 2020 program began in April and planned to run until June, with 14 activities, fully booked. Due to the restrictions of COVID-19 only 6 activities were delivered. 

As an alternative to the direct contact program and to keep families engaged and connected to their local natural environment, the program was adapted to offer virtual activities on the Lane Cove Bush Kids Facebook page www.facebook.com/lanecovebushkids 

Online you can find virtual storytelling, virtual bushwalking, nature craft suggestions and information on bushwalks in the local area. There are also two activity booklets. Online engagement has been high with 963 people following the page and individual post engagements averaging 100. 

As the restrictions ease, Val anticipates recommencing face to-face activities by July, but with fewer participants per activity. 

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