Help needed to keep pesticides out at New Brighton dunes

Byron Shire Chemical Free Landcare (BSCFL) has been informed by Byron Shire Council that if all the Bitou Bush from the chemical free site at New Brighton, isn’t done by the 30th June, the site will need to be sprayed with synthetic herbicides. In September 2016 this site was given to BSCF landcare volunteers by Byron Shire Council. On the first (and only full) work day we received help from Green Army (but that now no long exists), and Council’s Bush Regeneration Team. Despite the fact that hundreds of thousands of dollar have been given to the Shire for Bitou control in other areas, no funding was provided to continue the work here, although we request it at the time.

We were lucky that local landholders continued follow-up of this work as our own time was limited. Nevertheless there was a small section of primary work that remained. This focussed new demands that, as explained by Andy Erskine, ( Byron Shire Technical Officer Open Space & Reserves) “As part of the State Governments objective to move the Bitou containment line south to Cape Byron, Council has been participating in operations to fully control and eradicate the weed on Council owned or managed lands.”

“I can’t really understand the hurry, as we have being working with Bitou Bush sinse 2010, it comes across a very easy to manage. However I was inform by Council that they will receive a fine if work isn’t completed”, said bush regenerator Nadia de Souza Pietramale, BSCFL coordinator. Although we fully understand the need to comply with the law and fully support Council staff in active it, what is contradicted is the lack of ecologically intelligence in the law it self, that can justify to pollute with herbicides the environment in name of conservation, add Nadia.

The good news is that BSC has approved a contract for chemical free bush regenerators to finish the work. In our efforts to remove dangerous chemicals from our environment, we thank community pressure, our councillors who are following up these matters with staff, and Council staff who are supportive. Professional chemical free bush regenerators, are finally, now on the list of contractors that can be employed to perform work in the Shire. “My surprise in the past 12 years, is that in this “green shire” we would naively think that to remove synthetic herbicide from conservation areas would be just common sense, however it has been opposite – pesticides are used as daily common practice for weed control with no questioning”, Nadia says. This has been despite the increasing independent, peer-reviewed studies on the environmental and public health dangers.

So we need your help. Bush regenerator contractors will be on New Brighton on Tuesday, the 8th of May, from 9 pm until 4 pm. Also on the 12 of June, from 1 pm until 5 pm. We are especially looking forward to meeting Ocean Shores’ locals, who would like to help as it will require follow up work for 3 years. We are happy to provide training. Please meet us at the first curve, on the left, at North Head Road. Park your car and walk into the beach. The site is towards the south and you will see us on the dunes. This is a short strip of land, between the ocean and the back of the houses. Most of it has been completed.

Please wear boots, long sleeve shirt and long pants, a hat, gloves and bring water. Tools and first aid kit will be provided. No prior knowledge needed, we will teach you not only the techniques we use, but especially the strategies that we implement on chemical free bush regeneration.

BSCFL is a project of Mullum Seed

Mullumbimby Sustainability Education and Enterprise Development Incorporated

Nadia de Souza Pietramale

Project Coordinator

0478 272 300

Meeting tonight, 3rd May…..Mullumbimby Civic centre  5 pm.

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