Plans to future proof the shire's waste problems by expanding the Nambucca landfill into 23 adjacent hectares of Nambucca State Forest have met with resistance from a newly formed local conservation group, Forest Ecology Alliance (FEA).
The group say that citizen scientists as well as expert ecologists who have been surveying the area (which is classified as High Quality Koala Habitat under NSW Govt. mapping), have found evidence of a number of koalas as well as a variety threatened plants.
"Local forests have been heavily impacted by highway construction and recent devastating bushfires. The Nambucca State Forest is now functioning as a precious wildlife and flora refuge, visited by displaced wildlife exploring new corridors post the fires," FEA member Deanna Markovina said.
"Local ecologists need time to conduct fauna and flora surveys in unburnt forest pockets and to this end we have launched a petition asking Nambucca Valley Council to halt any plans for logging or clearing on the site ... and encourage them to explore more efficient and sustainable waste management options."
Passionate local green-thumb, Lil Ganly visited 'Turpentine Corner', as the forest pocket is now known, with the Guardian News last week.
"As a grandmother I cannot stand by and do nothing to protect our planet ... we have to treasure all our forests and I intend to help save Nambucca State Forest," Lil said.
"COVID is sending people out of the cities and they are coming to areas like Nambucca - we need to attract them with forests and places to walk - not a landfill!"
There must be other options - what about degraded agricultural land or the old tip at Jack's Ridge?Nambucca resident Lil Gamly
When asked about the details of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Nambucca Valley Council and Forestry Corp for the land, both said that at this point in time the agreement was only 'in principal' and not finalised.
Forestry Corp advised that:
"FC are not yet in a position to provide any information in relation to the arrangements until they are noted by our minister. Until this stage any agreements with council are only in principal and not finalised. There will be a joint press statement with Council once the Minister has noted the matter."
So what's next ...
FEA are planning a series of public awareness events to encourage the community to enjoy COVID19 safe exercise in peaceful forests.
The first is a Forest Family Fun Day on Sunday, September 20, to be held at 'Turpentine Corner', off Wirrimbi Road, Newee Creek ... just follow the signs.
The fun will start at 9.30am with a free yoga class in the forest, followed by morning tea where participants can collect clues for a Threatened Species Treasure Hunt.
Bring a picnic lunch and then stay on to enjoy entertainment by local Murga performance group, MurGAIA, from 1.30pm.
Everyone is welcome - for more information you can contact FEA via their Facebook page or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.