Being human, we tend to take the most valued things around us for granted.
Until they’re not there.
Like the 3,500-4,000 (approx.) trees VicRoads massacred on the Calder at Ravenswood in an entirely over-engineered and insensitive response to a traffic problem.
I don’t know how many people have said to me they now shudder, or close their eyes going through there.
Spoiler alert: VicRoads plans to do the same thing all the way into Bendigo.
Are we telling our own local Minister for Transport how we feel about this?
We citizens need to advocate for the natural world which supports us, and of which we are an integral part, if we want to thrive, and survive.
To quote the Greater Bendigo Environment Strategy 2016-2021 p. 20, we should focus on “maintaining and enhancing biodiversity, protecting areas of vegetation.”
That same strategy notes that “Greater Bendigo is expected to be warmer and drier than it is today”, and the overall reduction in rainfall will see “the greatest decreases expected in Spring and Winter.”(p.18)
That makes established trees even more precious, and regeneration more fragile.
Climate change is just one of the threats to the beautiful surrounding parks which make this the ‘City in a Forest’ that we all value.
Council plans to build a 52 K. mountain bike trail network through Bendigo’s Regional Park are another.
The plans have been developed without proper community consultation at the design stage, and consequently take no account of the long standing community efforts to re-establish biodiversity in these parks.
They make no provision for ongoing maintenance of these trails in any effective way, simply shuffling off responsibility onto volunteers.
This premature, over- reaching and inadequate plan must be dumped by Council.
Every tree is important. Carbon sequestration is vital.
Each creature has inherent value, as we ourselves do.
Let’s put our considerable resources towards improving, not degrading, native vegetation and habitat.
This way we will know what we’ve got while it lasts.
To re-phrase Joni Mitchell - maybe then we will save, not pave, paradise.
Wendy Radford, Mandurang South
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