· May 13 at 10:26 AM
The art of compromise is being lost everywhere, but I think we can create a mini-model in Mallacoota and surrounds. We are more like a tribe than a town. I strongly favour trying to reason win-win situations even when strongest desires might have to be tempered a little.
For example the struggle between ‘leave it be’ environmentalism which has failed communities and species recently, and ‘unfettered development’ ( which has failed almost everyone.)
Mallacoota is well protected from over development by available land and height restrictions. But none of us want to see the town disappear as people, businesses and services give up. The deeply littered forest brought fire into our towns and communities. The burning trees around Coull’s Inlet and Shady Gully Reserve on the Genoa Road, prevented those of us in Northern area getting back to douse spot fires immediately after the fire had passed. Fires burned dense and littered scrub all the way along the foreshore, Only some isolated stands remain. Some beautiful views back to town have been revealed through the dead Melaleucas. The Lakeside walkway and boardwalk is popular with visitors and locals alike for exercise and relaxation.
If the dead trees and vegetation was progressively removed (allowing species to migrate), and replaced by separated patches (prefereably with non-invasive fire resistant native species), it would reduce the likelihood and intensity of fires along lakeside; create beautiful glimpses of views across the lake, and create spaces for contemplation seats or picnic tables, and maybe pieces of stretching/exercise /play equipment for those using the walk. The lagoon and surrounding vegetation at the bottom of Martin Street would need to be maintained, but kept safer for the waterbirds by introducing a cleared gap from approaching vegetation. Maybe even an observation platform or hide with seats could be added. Community effort might be able to be harvested for some of the work.
Shady Gully and approaching forest near the roadways would need to be cleared roadside, of dangerous trees, and kept cleared of forest litter to prevent bringing fire in to town. It would allow ready access when the fire front has passed.. Patches of habitat logs and thicket could remain.
The top area of the Foreshore Park is technically our Parkland, but access is severely compromised for much of the year. Shady Gully Reserve could supplement this, if re designed as a Park.
Falling leaves are not so much a problem. They form a moisture retaining mulch. But branches and twigs falling on logs form bridges to hold, dry, and aerate fallen leaves leaving a fire set for ready ignition. Floor cleanliness and separated copses are the key. For some distance all around communities.
So where is the win-win for the environmentalists? These areas would be a refuge for repopulation of burned forest when the fire is gone.
I have specifally mentioned Mallacoota as I am familiar with it, but I’m sure locals in outlying communities could regonise areas for similar action to give them greater safety and refuge with threatening fires and events.