Minutes of picnic meeting and AGM - 16th December 2006

OBCLG members not present at the picnic/AGM can see what they missed beneath the spreading chestnut tree.

Picnic AGM

Members present please use the comments box (below)to provide amendments:

Start: 10:45 am

Apologies:

Elizabeth Smith, Silvia Churchill, Glennys and Sam Falvon, Frank and Andrew Buchanan, Michael Hooke, Valerie Bruce Costin.

Present:

Bruce Andrews, Joe Di Cecco, Jack Coles, Yani Grbich, Greg John, Denise Hooke, Alan and Leslie Huggins, Simon and Susan Pockley, Phil Smith, Carol and Frits Wilmink,

Directions Document (formerly Action Plan)

Press to download the Directions document [Word 1,333KB]

Denise Hooke: Outlined the program for the day and opened discussion about the Directions document by outlining the changes that arose from the Reference Group meeting.

Carol Wilmink: Why should landholders pay to have their land devalued?

Denise Hooke: Let’s talk about that when we talk about the funding model. Toby was concerned that the matter of water extraction was considered as a moderate risk rather than a high risk. This raised the issue of the proposed site and size of the new water storage dam. The issue of water storage is now linked to river health because the smaller the storage capacity, the more likely it will be that water will be extracted from the river when it is low.

Carol Wilmink: How was this document developed?

Greg John: Outlined the history of the document. He pointed out that the document was intended to be continuously evolving and that its main focus was to align with the River Health Strategy.

Carol Wilmink: In my opinion the document is too long and too repetitious. If it was shorter people would be more likely to read it.

David Churchill: I would suggest that the document needs to be dated - to have an identity in time.

Denise Hooke: Each of the Agencies will be adding a commitment statement. This will sit within the SOLN Catchment Management Plan. It is very important that it aligns with the funding model.

Greg John: We are trying to get a longer lead time with projects so that we can prepare seedlings with the right provenance etc. We probably need to think in terms of 3-5 years for each project.

David Churchill: You have focussed on the bottlenecks. It is very important to step back and define the purpose of these projects.

Greg John: There is now more emphasis being put on evaluation. What did we learn? We are also collecting stories about our projects.

Denise Hooke: Can you talk about funding?

Greg John: Core funding comes from the CCMA’s regional Investment Funding Plan. There is a he focus on this area and this has allowed funds to flow. Other sources of funding are Community Water Grants, and the Enviro Fund.

David Churchill: In earlier times we employed a professional Grant Writer.

Simon Pockley: Do you have enough expressions of interest?

Greg John: Yes, it is important for us to have expressions of interest from Landcare members. These are not binding but they help us prioritise and allocate resources. We do not have enough projects at the moment and we need members to submit their expressions of interest. We have the forms here today.

Leslie Huggins: Therefore I could submit an expression of interest for a project at a later date?

Greg John: Yes.

David Churchill: I feel that your weakness is a concentration on the detail. We also need to have a top down approach so that we can talk collectively about how projects fit together.

Simon Pockley: At our last AGM we agreed that we did indeed have a single purpose in mind and that was the health of the Barham River - from source to sea. This single gaol gave us a context with which to measure the extent that any or all projects contributed to the health of the river.

Denise Hooke: Let’s move on to the funding model?

David Churchill: I’m concerned about the burden of rising rates.

Simon Pockley: The relationship between crippling rate burdens and the sustainability of our Landcare projects was something that we raised with the Reference Group. Back in August I proposed a kind of star system that might earn landholders rate relief. Stars might be granted by having effluent treated in a sustainable and acceptable manner, by having a healthy riparian zone around rivers and gullies, through adequate weed control, and even beautification of the landscape. While both Barwon Water and the CCMA supported the idea, the Shire thought it would be difficult to administer, manage and police.

Denise Hooke: Is there some way that we could turn this into an action?

Allan Huggins: Perhaps differential rating could be funded Federally?

David Churchill: CCMA and Barwon Water needs to come up with a system of incentives.

Denise Hooke: But we would need to initiate this somehow.

Joe Di Cecco: I recently floated the idea of an environmental subsidy with the Shire but it was not supported. As the Shire moves to remove differential rating rates in Apollo Bay will soon increase dramatically. I believe in a collective approach. In order to agree to any kind of environmental rebate the Shire would need to see how they could access the works. A star system might be able to be melded into the system.

Allan Huggins: The Special Catchment should provide us with the differential. If we are responsible landholders with the Special Catchment then we should be rewarded. Rate relief would be an incentive.

Frits Wilmink: Barwon Water are at fault for allowing development to occur before they stated pumping.

Denise Hooke: An action would be for Simon and Denise to work with Joe to develop a proposal.

There was general agreement.

Denise Hooke: Let’s return to the Cost Sharing Principles.

There as general discussion about the principles with Leslie Huggins asking if it was possible to generate credits or payments to the landholder for labour and Carol Wilmink questioning whether there was any benefit for the Landholder.

Bruce Andrews: Raised the issue of leased land. I can’t see why the landholder should have to pay for the fence on leased land.

Joe Di Cecco: Legally you are required to fence a Crown Land boundary at your own cost.

Denise Hooke: We need to find out if access costs for difficult sites can be included and how payment takes place.

Allan Huggins: We are all being asked to give up land for the environment. My experience in doing this is that I now have more control.

Carol Wilmink: It is a cost to the landholder no matter where they live.

There was general discussion about the overall sustainability of living in the Barham Valley. Opinions ranged from extreme pessimism to optimism

Frits Wilmink: Developers in and around the town are not respecting the efforts being put in by landholders.

Denise Hooke: If we could cost out a real project (time and materials) it would help us to better understand the issues.

Allan Huggins: described the history of his current project and alerted the Group to the difficulties of managing price increases and costs over long periods of time.

Bruce Andrews: This (the cost sharing principles) is really a significant shift in approach.

Following lunch there was general discussion about stock crossings an watering points. Frits suggested that it was important to define what a stock crossing was. Following discussion about the maintenance of the existing West Barham pipeline there was consensus that stock watering points were dependent on adequate water storage. That you could not simply pump to a trough.

The meeting closed and both Phil Smith and Bruce Andrews left.

OBCLG AGM

Denise Hooke: Delivered herĀ President’s Report ([Word 44KB] press to download)

Carol Wilmink: Volunteered to represent the OBCLG in the SOLN Weeds Group

David Churchill: Asked that it be noted that he had warned the Group about the influx of Gilford Grass.

Simon Pockley: Delivered the Treasurer’s Report as follows:

01/01/2006 Cash Management Account balance $1761.80
Cash Management Account interest $65.32
01/10/2006 Cash Management Account balance $1827.12
01/02/2006 Cheque Account balance $1725.71
Cheque Account expenditure $811.02
Being: insurance $361.22 + Cost of Special catchment Forum $331.80 + Action Plan Forum $118.00
30/11/2006 Cheque Account balance $1026.96
16/12/2006 Total balance of both accounts $2854.08
Expecting $300.00 Second gen Landcare Grant + membership subscriptions

He reminded members who have not paid their 2006-2007 subscription ($25.00) that it is due.

Election of office bearers

  • Denise Hooke elected President (nominated by Leslie Huggins seconded by David Churchill)
  • Joe Di Cecco and Carol Wilmink elected co-Vice Presidents (nominated by Leslie Huggins seconded by David Churchill)
  • Simon Pockley elected Secretary/Treasurer (nominated by Leslie Huggins seconded by Alan Huggins)
  • Denise Hooke (voting), Carol Wilmink and Simon Pockley (voting) to be SOLN delegates (nominated by Leslie Huggins seconded by David Churchill)
  • Denise Hooke and Simon Pockley to represent the OBCLG on the Special Catchment Reference Group (nominated by David Churchill seconded by Leslie Huggins)

Yani Grbich conducted a Group Health Survey and Simon Pockley provided an update on the River Indicator Project with an example of how the data could be displayed.


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