A CALL TO ACTION TO SAVE CASTLEMAINE'S CBD TREES AND MAKE GOOD PLANNING DECISIONS NOW TO PREPARE FOR THE FUTURE
Proposals for New Castlemaine CBD Plan & Planting
Castlemaine has a large number of talented horticultural designers among its residents, some working regularly in Melbourne and some in Bendigo and beyond. Even among those who were unable to attend the first planning meeting to develop a new CBD planting strategy on Thursday night (17th), many sent in their ideas, most notable being Jane Marriott of Campbells Creek who brought along the Draft Street Tree Policy which the Council commissioned her to write in 2000.
The meeting quickly came to the conclusion that without an adopted Council strategy for the development of the CBD, including everything from trees to street furniture, planting ideas would come and go without the needed continuity required to plan ahead for global warming.
Around the state, shade policies have already been developed, for example, in Melbourne where the 22% tree canopy is planned to increase to 40%. Some suburban and regional councils have initiated community adopt-a-tree programs to lessen costs and vandalism.
It was pointed out that Castlemaine tree cover has been reduced over time to barren streetscapes on its major entrances of Barker and Forest Streets, where wide footpaths without verandahs may once have had regular tree cover. But as they are, the streets can be unusable by pedestrians in the summer. Studies were mentioned that have universally found that tree plantings increase retail trade and boost the general economic well-being in urban areas.
The group is asking the community to assist by lobbying individual Councillors directly and to sign a new petition (available at Soldier & Scholar Bookshop) urging Council to consider developing a CBD Streetscape Development and Planting Strategy as a matter of urgency. Individuals and business groups are asked to give their support for a strategy and to consider their own visions of how they want Castlemaine to be in the future.
For more information about ways you can help contact:
FARMLAND NOT GASFIELDS!
Thanks to Yes2Renewables and Friends of the Earth Australia, for keeping us Mobilised and informed about the unconventional gas debate in Victoria.
There are a few suggestions of ways to act - and this is the time to stand together for the health of our regions.
'Please take action today and make sure all political parties get the message that the community wants a permanent ban on onshore unconventional gas and fracking.
The state government will announce its position in December, after it has seen the final report from the Inquiry into unconventional gas. We really need to apply pressure in the next few months.
Of course, the Coalition has only adopted this position because of the determined community campaign that has been opposing gas drilling for the last four years. This is a great outcome, a testament to the fact that campaigning works, and gets us so much closer to gaining a permanent ban on onshore gas drilling.
Thanks for all your help in getting us this far.'
Friends of the Earth Australia
With 2 by elections coming up in western VIC, plus the need to launch an intense lobby effort on the ALP, we could sure use some additional financial help. You can support the campaign here.
1/Email the Coalition:
The Hon Matthew Guy, Leader of the Liberal Party, Leader of the Opposition
The Hon Peter Walsh, Member for Murray Plains and Leader of The Nationals
Dear Mr Guy and Mr Walsh,
I welcome your announcement that the Coalition will extend the current moratorium on unconventional gas drilling until 2020. I urge you to go further.
The community wants an outright and permanent ban on gas fracking. Already 67 regional communities have declared themselves gasfield free, with more to come. This industry will not gain social license to operate, and the sooner our state is closed off to this destructive industry the better.
Communities welcome Coalition taking stronger position on unconventional gas but still want total ban @MatthewGuyMP @PeterWalshMP
Please also tweet to: @LiberalVictoria@TheNationalsVic
2/ Tell the ALP you want a permanent ban.
Please sign and share our petition.
Email the Premier
The Hon Daniel Andrews, Premier of Victoria
I appreciate the fact that your government has established an Inquiry into Unconventional Gas (UCG).
With the final report due in December, and the Coalition announcing its support for a five year ban, there is a huge opportunity for the ALP to show it is listening to community concerns about this industry.
Unconventional gas drilling will threaten food production, ground water and farmland. It will be a dirty fuel with high greenhouse impacts. It will not provide our state with cheap energy. And it will not be supported by the community. Already 67 communities have declared themselves gasfield free.
In considering your position on UCG, I urge you to heed community opinion and support a permanent ban on all onshore gas drilling. Victoria has banned uranium exploration and mining. That was the right choice for our state. Now, the right choice will be to ban the UCG industry before it gets established.
Tweet to the Premier
VIC Coalition supports 5 year ban on gas drilling. Time for ALP to support a permanent ban @DanielAndrewsMP @LilyDAmbrosioMP
3/ write to the papers
Short, sharp letters are good
• Reference the Coalition announcement (eg check this story from The Weekly Times).
• Explain that you want the main parties to enact a permanent ban on all onshore unconventional gas drilling.
UCG will threaten our farms, ground water and food production. It will lock us into continued reliance on polluting fossil fuels. It will be largely reliant on a 'fly in fly out' workforce. It will industrialise our landscapes and negatively impact on existing industries like tourism. A 5 year ban fails people living in exploration areas. The mental stress and uncertainty that is affecting communities in license areas will continue. They want certainty. They want to get on with their lives. A permanent ban will allow this to happen.
• Shale and Tight Gas are likely to be the most commercially viable forms of UCG in Victoria. You may want to pull some figures from this document, which outlines specific problems with these gases.