WESTON CREEK COMMUNITY COUNCIL
Your local voice
Postal Address: PO Box 3701 Weston Creek ACT 2611
Phone: 6288 8975
Fax: 6288 9179
Monthly Meeting 28th November 2001
Jeff Carl, Chairperson WCCC, welcomed residents and the committee to the November meeting. Mr Carl introduced the guest speakers Mr Tony Bartlett, Mr Dave Jamieson and Ms Rebecca Blundell from ACT Forests, who would talk about the proposed options for the control of weeds after logging on Narrabundah Hill (behind Duffy). Prior to that Acting Superintendent Gary Shute AFP would provide a brief update on policing events in Weston Creek.
Marion Rielly, Bob Sutherland, Alan Castle, Jacqui Burke
Gary Shute Australian Federal Police
Acting Superintendent Shute advised the meeting that the crime rate comparison from Sept-Nov 2000 compared to Sept-Nov 2001 was down and this was attributed to the recent 'Operation Anchorage'. Acting Superintendent Shute indicated that 90% of crime were undertaken by only 10% of offenders. Recent disturbances are up from 61 to 63 and this will continue to rise in the summer months, stolen motor vehicles are up from 14 to 19. Duffy has seen a 120% increase in crime and the potential offender lives in Duffy. Acting Superintendent Shute stated that because Weston Creek has no high-density low income housing any rise in crime activity would focus on particular individuals moving into the suburbs. Weston Creek compares favourably with other Canberra districts
In respect of recent fires there are 3 youths who are the focus of police inquires and one of these is 8 years old. The fires are generally occurring between 3am-4am. The youths are on push bikes and able to disappear into the night. The main targets have been box trailers with rubbish and brush fences. Acting Superintendent Shute also referred to the anonymous flyer regarding young offenders, which appears to be circulating in Rivett.
Those attending the meeting asked several questions;
Mr Carl in introducing Tony Bartlett advised the meeting that this was the third meeting, which ACT Forests had attended, and the second meeting at which it was the major topic of discussion.
Mr Bartlett advised the meeting that ACT Forests replanted approximately 300 to 500 ha of forests each year to maintain long term viable stocks. ACT Forests was required to run as a commercial operation for the ACT Government. He advised the meeting that ACT Forests had gone through the process as originally outlined in the first meeting that Mr Carl spoke of. These steps were:
Mr Bartlett provided attendees with copies of the two documents Weed control options for Narrabundah Hill Stromlo Forest and Audit of ACT Forests' Aerial Spraying Operational Procedures. The documents are also available on the Dept of Urban Services website.
Mr Bartlett also advised the meeting of the concerns raised by the ACT Bush Fire Council to ACT Forests on the level of fuel load lying on the ground after harvesting - and ACT Forests need to act to rectify the situation. The inability to locally sell the low value timber from the site was a factor in the high level of fuel load. There is no local timber mill interested in the 'discarded' timber. A contract has now been signed with a Tumut mill to take the discarded material in the future. However as the material at Narrabundah Hill had been on the ground for several months the mill was not interested in that timber. The course of action is to bulldoze the material into piles to create separate controllable heaps. Leaving it spread about would severely limit an ACT Bush Fire Council's effort to control a deliberately lit fire. A bulldozer would appear on site shortly. It was expected that the material would undergo a control burn in autumn next year. There ensued considerable debate by attendees on the burning of scrap timber on site. Mr Bartlett indicated that there were few alternates to dealing with the discarded timber. Mr Carl offered that the WCCC could contribute to assisting in that debate, however tonight could we focus on the weed control options.
Mr Bartlett agreed to take questions.
Audit of aerial spraying - Dave Jamieson gave the meeting an overview of the independent audit of aerial spraying. Agtech Pty Ltd undertook the work in Kowen Forest in July and a substantial number of samples were collected and have been analysed. The sample distribution was looking for drift of aerial spray. In addition the protocols used by ACT Forests for aerial spraying were independently examined. The area in Kowen Forest was comparable to Narrabundah Hill. Mr Jamieson indicate that there were actually more weeds at the Narrabundah Hill site because of escapes from local gardens.
In the results, which are available in detail on the Urban Services website, there was no detectable drift at 60 metres from the target based on the protocols for aerial spraying (wind speed, humidity, application rates etc). The intended buffer on Narrabundah hill would be 250m.
The independent analysis also looked at the combining of the three chemicals. Two were ok but the third was inconclusive. RoundupÒ and BrushoffÒ were suitable and VelparÒ was inconclusive. The reason for using three chemicals is to achieve a wider spectrum control of weeds, as these three chemicals would effect a much wider range from herbaceous to woody weeds. The consultant also made recommendations on improving the processes eg wind tunnel testing, computer modelling and variations of spraying protocols such as wind speed.
Weed Control options - Rebecca Blundell advised the meeting that she had undertaken the site inspections and considered the logistics and costs of weed control. The major invasive weeds were Sorell, broom and briar rose. Many of the weeds were around the base of remnant gum trees and because of the flying zone buffer around such trees these weeds would not be affected by aerial spraying. Seven options were considered and Ms Blundell detailed these, their advantages, disadvantages and costings. The complete material is available in the document on the Urban Services website. Mr Jamieson and Ms Blundell indicated that public comments were welcome until 21 December 2001. The option preferred by ACT Forest is option four, dry pellet application (forestmix) at 1 metre around a tree after planting. That is no control until the new plantation is established.
Mr Carl thanked Mr Bartlett, Mr Jamieson and Ms Blundell for once again attending a public meeting and advising the community of the progress of the work. Ms Pat McGinn gave a vote of thanks to ACT Forests staff for the work that they had undertaken and the professional and courteous manner in which they communicated with the residents.
A member of the informal group Weston Creek residents against aerial spraying indicated that they had concerns on the effects of spraying on water runoff, the mix of chemicals and the time to have comments in by 21 December. Mr Jamieson replied by indicating that the preferred option had no aerial spraying, no liquid spray (its pellets) and 'forestmix' was a different chemical compound. The resident was provided with documentation on forestmix
Mr Carl thanked the guest speakers and members of the public for attending and wished all well for the up coming festive season. Mr Carl reminded attendees to leave their email address if they wished to receive the WCCC electronic newsletter.
Meeting closed 9.45pm
Next meeting 27th February 2002.