Bendigo is lucky to be a city in a forest, and an outlying suburb’s community action group is keen to keep it that way.
The Junortoun Community Action Group has called not only for increased tree planting but for protection for existing trees and woodland in its submission to council’s Greening Bendigo Strategy.
The group’s submission urges the council to resist changes to Bendigo’s urban growth boundary, and instead focus on in-fill growth in existing residential areas.
The city’s strategy will identify areas which are a priority for tree planting, and trees and green spaces which are of high value to the community.
Secretary Kevin de Vries said Junorton residents were fortunate to have lots of trees in their suburb, and the group would like to see it stay that way.
Living in one of Bendigo’s emerging suburbs in the forest, Junortoun Community Action Group members see the effect of development firsthand.
Mr de Vries said invariably with subdivision comes a loss of the trees and shrubs that form a habitat for animals.
In his experience, once lost, the bushland takes years to recover.
It’s the indiscriminate chopping down of trees that can happen when a block is purchased and sold on, that the group would like to stop.
Mr de Vries believes there is a growing awareness in Victoria of climate change, and the role trees play in keeping areas cool.
“We’re not anti-development, but we want to make sure it’s appropriate for the community and the suburb in which we live,” he said.
“It’s a gradual thing. But we do see blocks that get purchased, the trees chopped down, and resold as vacant blocks, and those trees are lost, they’re gone forever.”
It’s not just Junortoun the group hopes to see stay green, they’re advocating for planting and protection throughout Bendigo.
White Hills and Kangaroo Flat are the two areas in Bendigo most vulnerable to the effects of heat according to a report recently released by the Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance.
Mr de Vries said that the group is advocating beyond Junortoun itself because they believe more trees will make the whole of the city a more enjoyable place to live.
It might be a city of over 100,000, but Mr de Vries sees Bendigo as a community where residents travel throughout.
As part of their goal to preserve bushland, the Junortoun Community Action Group has identified former gravel pits at Honeyeater Reserve as a site worth preserving.
They are also seeking to see the community land at Knul-doorong Woodland recognised in the strategy.
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