protect North Byron Parkland

Campaign to protect North Byron Parkland Festival venue:

The Mega Festival’s 5 year trial comes to an end this year, and the owners of the Parklands site are applying for a 20 month extension to that approval. They and the new 51% shareholder of the Splendour and Falls festivals (U.S. festival conglomerate Live Nation), believe they will lose money if they don’t get the extension because of future acts they have booked. What they are really aiming for is permanent approval of these festivals and others at this venue for up to 50,000 patrons. Please find the time to email or send submissions to the NSW Department of Planning  to prevent the extension. (Submissions due by 26 April). Later, we will have a chance to object to the proposed permanent approval. These massive events are destroying the culture and lifestyle of this unique community and also affect the ecology of the high-conservation area.
To object to the 20-month extension, go here:  http://www.majorprojects.planning.nsw.gov.au/index.pl?action=view_job&job_id=8331.
Even a few words will help as submissions are counted as objecting or in favour,

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re: northern rivers floods:

Hi NRG people,

As always we have lots to cope with the rich and greedy often failing to recognize they share the fate of our world. Parliamentarians in Australia hand around lumps of coal as if they worship black lung. Qld government wants to back a foreign coal mine with handouts.

Trump thinks we don’t need to worry about climate change and says it is a “Chinese hoax.” Cyclone Debbie recently whipped thru here as if nature wanted to wash us clean. BUT…, our species has some spectacular people doing great work and will overcome all obstacles in the long run.

If any of you have a problem that other NRG members might be able to assist, please contact Sharon, our volunteer NRG members’ welfare officer Sharon home 0266793209 or  mobile  0458138540. You may need help with property or health issues. Telephone counselling?

Gasfield Free NR has set up a temporary help centre for flood victims in the disused Lismore railway station. People wanting to volunteer or needing help can register requests for assistance online at lismore.recovers.org or they can come to the train station.

A government hotline also offers advice on disaster relief, call 1800 018444 .

I hope all members are safe and well. We need you. The world needs you.

Aloha,

Scott Sledge

President

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re: kings forest

Hello Concerned citizens,
Just when we thought that Kings Forest couldn’t get worse, it has.
Breifly, Leda Corp has applied to vary their plans for the small piece of land on the ocean (east ) side of the Tweed Coast Road . Instead of “rural supplies” store (aka lanscaping business), Project 28 Pty Ltd (LEDA) sought to amend its DA to 6 food outlets – 2 of which are drive through – a car wash and dog wash and a fossil fuel service station. All to go in Precint 1 of the KF development on the bank of the Cudgen Creek and wetlands adjoining State Significant Farmland on the block’s northern boundary.

This is a modification to the original approval given to the site for a Rural Supplies Building.

This modification was objected to by local land owners, but Tweed Shire Council and The DPI failed to object to this new land use. The danger to the wetlands and Creek becoming seriously contaminated made some of us think this change would be refused…and it was:
The Modification request was refused by the Executive Director Key Sites and Industry Assessments under section 74W of the Environmental and Planning and Assessment Act 1979. on 18th April 2016.

But…Project 28 Pty Ltd (LEDA) appealed this decision and an on-site conciliation conference was held with some objectors, the commissioner and Project 28 on 13th Sept 2016. ( report was confidential).
Tweed Council held an extraordinary meeting on Tues 24th January 2017 to discuss the issue, and sent an urgent letter to the Lands Dept. Neighbour and organic farmer Donna Smith has since learned that Council’s letter was “too late” and that a S.34 Agreement has been reached which will be tabled in the Lands and Environment Court on Monday 30th January 2017. The terms are not yet known but Donna feels certain that Leda Corp will have its way, with some conditions imposed.
I appeal to everyone to spare a few moments to save Cudgen Creek – that wonderful regional asset and tourist attraction – please email Gladys Berejiklian, who is the new Premier of NSW, via the Premier’s web site, an appeal based on threat to clean water and prime farmland.
The Planning Department listed risks to the environment and wildlife among it’s concerns. You comments might include the fact that a new Caltex roadhouse has opened a few kms away and that established area businesses ( in Kingscliff, Cabarita, Casuarina ) will suffer as a result. Perhaps even make an argument about moving away from fossil fuels during our Climate Change emergency.
Today the Three Minutes to Midnight Scientific Committee advanced the Doomsday clock” by 30 seconds.
Search for NSW Premier – contact. You will find there also a link to message the Premier on Facebook and Twitter .
Do it now. Just a few words may turn the tide.
Thanks, Sledge
NRG President

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message from NRG to new leaders in NSW Parliament

NSW Premier and Deputy Premier 23-1-2017

Dear Ms. Berejiklian and Mr. Barilaro

I write on behalf of the Northern Rivers Guardians, Inc whose membership of more than 600 are dedicated to responsible development in our area.

We congratulate you both on your recent elevation to high office. We hope that you will adhere to the highest standards of public service and remember that you are there to serve, not to rule.

We want to raise with you a few issues that are hot topics around here:

1. Local decision-making : The broken campaign promise when the Coalition first took office that planning decisions will devolve back to local Councils. We oppose the use of state power to impose developments on local populations against their will. The JRPP is unable to give fair consideration as their record of approving developments shows. We are happy that Mr. Barilaro has said that he will oppose forced Council amalgamations. If there is any good reason to take away the most direct access to democratic governance, we would like to hear it.

2. Fossil fuel mining does not deserve a place in this region, or any region which wants to be “Fit for the Future.” Please rescind mining licences that are detrimental to local industries and/or health. Remove heavy penalties for people who protect us through action to preserve our environment.

3. Marijuana: Legalising marijuana for medical use is a no-brainer. Get on with it. Talking about it while people suffer or get arrested at police discretion is not good enough. Many time people in the Northern Rivers have suffered major police paramilitary raids, which are totally inappropriate to this mainly peaceful area. We recommend decriminalising recreational use of marijuana as well to alleviate social discord and help reduce the problem of prison overcrowding in NSW.

4. Environment first : Please take all possible action to assist the planet to avoid the harmful effects of climate change. The proposed container deposit scheme needs to be expedited. All committees should consider the environment as a first priority. The economy cannot grow without a fully protected environment. We have no other planet to leave for future generations.

5. Rail transport : Please bring trains back for passengers in our area and connect to the Gold Coast. This should focus on commuter trains rather than distant connections. Electric trains will help reduce pollution and traffic congestion.

6. Land clearing/ wildlife corridors : The community expects government to regulate to preserve native flora and fauna. The recent legal changes could allow for self-assessment by landholders. Please ensure that well-credentialed officers are empowered to oversee land use and resourced to prosecute illegal land-clearing. We welcome recent announcements of funding to help connect habitat for wildlife corridors.

Please acknowledge receipt of this letter and provide responses to any anal issues raised.

Sincerely,

Scott Sledge
President
Northern Rivers Guardians
PO Box 309 Murwillumbah, NSW

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notes from water mining meeting in uki

Three Tweed Shire Councillors – Cherry, Cooper and Allsop – attended the public meeting at Uki Hall re water mining on Thursday 19th January . Mayor Katie Milne sent an apology from Melbourne. These Councillors seemed willing to listen and act on behalf of the people.

The gathering of about 180 people expressed a broad range of concerns about the DA . The proponent, former politician Jack Hallam, was not present . Many were worried about TSC getting sued if they do not accept the proposal to extract and sell groundwater, which is legal under current rules. Despite legal complications no one spoke in favour of granting the change from home use of the bore on Rowlands Creek Road to commercial extraction and sale to a Gold Coast bottling company. Many questioned the wisdom of allowing 43-tonne tankers use of narrow, winding country roads and the cost to Council from damage large tankers will cause. The risks to other road users is unacceptable and the costs of damage to roadways and bridges is beyond calculation, but surely more than legal costs to defend a Council decision to refuse water mining in Tweed Shire. The meeting applauded a statement by Scott Sledge, President of NRG, that the water is a public resource which should not be sold off for private gain. Direct action to stop aquifer drawdown is a distinct possibility should political processes fail the community which clearly – and loudly – oppose water mining.

Stella Wheeldon told the meeting that other possible legislation that may affect the decision on the Rowlands Creek Road development is Aboriginal Cross Border Legislation (Federal Legislation).

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WATER MINING IN UKI? NO WAY! WRITE SUBMISSIONS!

SUBMISSION POINTS GATHERED AT THE UKI HALL MEETING

PROPOSED BULK LOADING & DELIVERY OF EXTRACTED WATER AT

LOT 3 DP 815475 (NO. 350) ROWLANDS CREEK ROAD, ROWLANDS CREEK

  1. Ref Number: DA16/0936

Application lodged: 21/12/2016

Description: Advertised development – water extraction facility

  • The applicant proposes to take water from an existing bore by bulk containment to a commercial bottler & distributor.

  • The site distance along Rowlands Creek Road for tanker trucks entering and exiting the site is insufficient and poses a danger to traffic.

  • Tankers will take up two lanes to turn by the Uki school. This will pose safety risks for school children and motorists in Uki village. Problems with tankers negotiating school buses in Uki village.

  • There needs to be an assessment undertaken in order to place a load limit for Rowlands Creek Road.

  • High cost to rate payers as a result of repairs to damaged bitumen from tyres churning out and displacing hot soft bitumen in summer months where tankers turn, particularly in Uki village.

  • Ratepayers will have to pay to repair damage to road infrastructure including bridges and verges caused by the tankers when they leave the bitumen when approached by oncoming traffic on narrow rural roads.

  • Local amenity will suffer.

  • The development will provide no economic or social benefits for the Tweed Shire Council or the people of the shire.

  • Tankers on the roads and travelling through our villages and towns will adversely effect tourism in the area.

  • Uki’s amenity, safety and tourism based businesses will be severely adversely effected by tanker traffic

  • Tourists having to negotiate 2.5 metre wide and 19 metre long tankers on narrow winding roads will deter tourists from visiting the area. Tanker drivers having to negotiate slow-driving sightseeing tourists on narrow winding roads will cause frustration and tailgating that will place the driving public at risk and damage from the Tweed Valley tourism experience.

  • Frustrated drivers overtaking slow trucks will make rural roads more dangerous.

  • The bridges on Rowlands Creek Road would have to be upgraded to accommodate the tankers.

Page 1 of 2

  • Property values of residents on Rowlands Creek Road will be devalued.

  • There has been no base data provided on the bore.

  • Sufficient information has not been provided in the Statement of Environmental Effects for the Council to make an informed decision.

  • Tweed Shire Council doesn’t have the knowledge or expertise to evaluate the impacts of the development on the environment.

  • There has been no account provided of the long or short term cumulative effects on the environment, local amenity or tourism in the area. Once this development is approved it will be too difficult to retract it. This is too important an issue which has the potential to set a precedent for other commercial water extraction development applications in the broader area.

  • There has been no account provided of how much the development will effect the charge and discharge into Rowlands Creek or the ability of other nearby residents to access ground water.

  • Climate change predictions have been underestimated. Weather events like drought are expected to become more severe. The precautionary principle should dictate that the development should not be approved in order to ensure that ground water levels are not adversely impacted.

  • There is an existing bore within 400 metres of the proposed extraction site.

  • There is no requirement for water meters on the bores to monitor the amount of extraction.

  • Once an extraction allocation has been approved the developer can apply to increase the amount allowed to be drawn.

  • Ground water should remain a public asset and not used for private commercial purposes.

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ENOVA! the new renewable energy retailer for us

Sebastien Sledge, Northern Rivers Guardians

On Tuesday 11th August I went to the incredible launch in Lismore of a local renewable energy retailer named Enova!

This company will be owned by locals and designed to encourage local renewable growth and give people a better price for power.

This will keep tens of millions of dollars in our local economy and create many local jobs not to mention the growing of real green power locally.

Let’s literally take the power back!

Enova must be a minimum of 51% locally owned but can be much more, as locals will get first preference. This is the start of something really big and progressive! We must do this as it will not happen without us. WE NEED TO DO THIS as our government won’t and are not governing for us or our greater good.

As I understand it, Enova will have a number or different arms. A not-for-profit arm that will help support people in the community who can’t afford to go renewable.

A future finance arm that will help finance these and more local renewable project.

A retail arm that will sell equipment and advise customers on products that are best for them.

An electricity distribution arm that will buy locally-produced power and true Australian green power and sell power for a cheaper price.

No other energy retailer compares! As it is now, out of 130,000 local residential electricity consumers 91% of them are powered by fossil fuel generation (81% are Origin customers). All the energy providers to date use dirty fossil fuels.

Even Powershop has its pitfalls. Powershop is 51% owned by the New Zealand government and they have been involved with fracking for many years.

Just imagine that if we gained 20% of the local electricity market that would equal 60 million dollars a year staying in our local area. THIS IS A WIN / WIN for all locals and the environment…including employment opportunity for young people as many trades will be needed across the field. This is a game changer and once set up we can expand into other communities or help them set up similar projects. Others the world over have done this, now it’s our turn!
This is the alternative to CSG and fossil fuel generation.

Please help share info about Enova. They/we initially need investors to make this happen. The Prospectus is already available and can be downloaded online. Purchase shares to be part of this.

Find out when they are visiting your town.

Enova’s web page http://www.enovaenergy.com.au/

 

or on  Facebook

Tweed presentation will be at Canvas and Kettle in the Shire Council chambers in Mur’bah from 5:30 to 6:30 PM on Friday 14th August.

The Enova team will be at Birth & Beyond in Nimbin on Wednesday 9th September from 6:30 pm.

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Tesla Powerwall

It promises to turn the electricity utilities on their heads. These battery storage units, currently retailing for approximately US$3000, can turn a home into a standalone energy provider if there are enough requisite solar panels, and there is an inverter.

Elon Musk thinks you’ll get a charge out of his latest product: the Tesla Powerwall, a wall-mounted battery that stores up to 10 kiloWatt-hours of electricity. Musk calls it “the missing piece” in the puzzle of how to wean ourselves off dependency on fossil fuels and power grids.

Originally part of the Tesla Car manufacturing business, this spin off towards general domestic homes, plus businesses on a larger scale, is making people alert to the incredible possibilities.

tesla-powerwallIf you look at the unit size in comparison to Elon the presenter, it doesn’t look too daunting to have in your garage or whatever room in your house you install it?

The Powerwall introduced by Tesla Energy puts everything you need (except a DC/AC inverter) into a relatively stylish package about the size of a 50-inch flat-screen TV. It’s designed to be hung on a wall, even an exterior wall. Up to nine PowerWalls can be “stacked” for additional storage.

Your individual house requirements (partial or completely off the grid) will determine the number of PowerWalls, solar panels, inverter and associated installation cost.

A single Powerwall might well get the average household through the night, unless it’s one of those nights when everyone needs space heaters. Up to 9 Powerwalls may be desirable if you want to go fully off-grid or if lengthy power outages are common in your area.

[Source – Bob Rankin plus ABC program segment]

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‘Phantom’ timber turns into serious money for millers

Valuable and endangered private forests such as the one at Whian Whian, the scene of protests in 2013, are being logged to supply unrealistic state government agreements with sawmills.

Chris Dobney

‘Phantom’ timber that was ‘gifted’ to the logging industry is now turning into real cash – millions of dollars for millers – and there are no hollow logs to pull it from, says a north coast forest group.

Recently released data proves that the $8.55 million spent ‘buying back’ timber commitments from Boral last year was for timber that never existed, according to the North East Forest Alliance.

Contrary to the government’s claims, the ‘buyback’ will do nothing to relieve the severe over-logging of north-east NSW’s public forests, NEFA says.

The scandal has plagued both sides of parliament: the former ALP government created the over-allocation and instigated the ‘buy-back’ in the first place.

NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh told Echonetdaily the supply crisis is worsening and sawmill owners will again demand that taxpayers pay many more millions for the ‘phantom’ timber that never existed and was given to the millers for free.

‘Last June when primary industries minister Katrina Hodgkinson announced the $8.55 million buyback of 50,000 cubic metres of annual sawlog commitments from Boral she claimed it was “to reduce the harvest of high-quality saw logs on the North Coast to ensure the long-term sustainable supply of timber from the region’s forests”.

‘It is now evident that even though this phantom timber was given to Boral for free in 2004 the Forestry Corporation has never been able to supply it.
Graph shows promised timber allocations versus promised supply.

Graph shows promised timber allocations versus promised supply.

‘In 2003-4 Wood Supply Agreements for 221,700 cubic metres per annum of large hardwood sawlogs from public forests were given to north coast sawmillers for free until 2023.

While this gift to the logging industry is costing taxpayers a small fortune in subsidies, the state-owned Forestry Corporation, tasked with chopping down state forests to supply the free timber, is posting staggering losses.

Last financial year it lost $11.8 million on native forest logging operations. The year before last it lost $15 million.

‘Despite trashing our forests the Forestry Corporation has never been able to supply these volumes because the commitments were based on grossly inflated yield assessments. Taxpayers have so far had to pay tens of millions to buy back timber that never existed, to purchase timber from private land for the millers, and pay them compensation,’ Mr Pugh said.

‘In 2006 and 2007 taxpayers paid $2.8 million to buy back 12,200 cubic metres per annum of non-existent timber, as well as millions more to buy timber from private land to help meet commitments. Even then the shortfall averaged over 30,000 cubic metres per annum for the five years 2004-9, and we had to pay unknown millions in compensation to sawmillers,’ he added.

‘This most recent data shows that despite the buybacks, from 2009-2014 the Forestry Corporation’s shortfall of large sawlogs doubled to 60,000 cubic metres per annum. The minster’s announcement to buy back 50,000 cubic metres from Boral (starting this financial year) does not even cover this shortfall, and the situation is rapidly worsening.

‘How many more millions are we going to have to pay to sawmill owners for phantom timber before our public forests are totally degraded? This is not sustainable. There needs to be an independent and open inquiry into this shameful situation.’ Mr. Pugh said.

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BLACK ROCKS KOALAS

Hi folks,
Barry Longland has filed a motion for the TSC meeting on Thursday to remove the koala gate at Black Rocks. If anyone has influence with TS Councilors now is the time to use it. Phone or email please. This has the  potential to destroy this koala colony, and the wildlife corridor with it. The strip of trees at Black Rocks may be their only refuge after the rest has burned.
We will demonstrate at M’bah on Monday at noon. (TSC Steps) Also meet at 3:30 outside Council chambers and pack the gallery from 4 to 5 PM onThursday 22 nd January. I will speak on behalf of NRG. Hope to CU there.
Sledge Here’s copy of my letter to editors:

With the recent fire over Xmas devastating Pottsville wetlands probably killing some of the remaining koalas in one of the three small colonies of koalas on the coast (i.e. near Black Rocks), our coastal koalas have probably now changed status from endangered to critically endangered.

 

With the ongoing problem of vandals and off-leash dogs at Black Rocks sports oval, koalas are dying of stress-induced Chlamydia. The local koala population was already living on the edge before the fire, how much more so now?

The proposal for a Mens’ Shed development on the Black Rocks sports oval, which would contain flammable chemicals at risk of vandals attack, it’s probably only a matter of time before there is another fire which wipes out one the last remaining koalas habitats on our coast. The wildlife corridor there is important for our regional ecology. The Men’s Shed has other location options which are more convenient and less environmentally damaging.

 

What is Council doing to protect koala habitat? I applaud the recent draft Comprehensive Koala Plan of Management: Council announced a plan to build more corridors and plant more trees. The important core population of koalas at Black Rocks was already covered by its own Management Plan:  A koala protection fence with special gate was installed some time ago to separate koala habitat from dogs. Now it seems that the gate is to be removed or left open as a convenience. There is rarely any need to open the 300m access track to cars as walkers have another smaller gate next to it.
Council needs to get serious about the Black Rocks koala population and keep the gate closed except when an event is scheduled there. Three ecologists have recommended the sports field be planted out with koala food trees. Perhaps the public needs to contact Clr Barry Longland as the one councillor who often holds the balance of power. He sometimes votes with the pro-environment councillors, and sometimes votes with the pro-development councillors. His record to date indicates he may not vote to protect koalas at Black Rocks.

 

For those who care about koalas and wildlife corridors it’s now time to write to him BLongland@tweed.nsw.gov.au asking him to please put up a motion to protect  koalas at Black Rocks and revegetate the sports oval. If Clr Longland fails to do this then the people of Tweed Shire may lose the coastal koalas. The koala habitat ( and wildlife corridors) should not be sacrificed for future developments: people have already altered most of the land along the coast and can leave a little for other animals. When the koalas are gone we will be sorry.

 

Sincerely,

Scott Sledge

Northern Rivers Guardians

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