Archive for March, 2010
St Andrews Community Bushfire Recovery Association Committee
Minutes of the meeting on Monday 15th March 2010
@ St Andrews Community Centre
Meeting opened: 8.15pm
Present: Ian, Ken, Quentin, Stuart, Warwick, Peter, Gail, Cathy, Maria, Elizabeth, Helen
Apologies: Toni-anne, Manninder
- Adoption of the Minutes from meeting of 1st March 2010
- Action: Carried (Warwick/Stuart).
- Proposed discussion meeting with ‘Black Belt’ residents
o Action: Agreed (Ian/Warwick) that Cathy, her friend, Stuart & Quentin would organise a meeting of people from the black belt area to discuss their favoured projects and, hopefully, report back to the public meeting of 31 March.
- Ken Dance, new Treasurer, introduced himself and gave a brief CV.
- Update (Ken)
- Action: Ian to arrange for Amber to contact Ken to reconcile earlier Events accounts.
- Action: Agreed (Helen/Ken) that Bank signatories be changed so that 2 of Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Treasurer, Secretary be authorised to sign cheques and that they be the only registered signatories; Warwick & Ken to organise registrations.
- Action: Gail to ask Miriam to check if council has paid Diamond Valley Hire for the toilets on Commemorative Day.
- St Andrews Hall Audio/visual presentation by Pat Reynolds & Matthew Blackwood discussion
- Action: Maria advised that VBRRA have rejected scoping document twice – under both general and donor sections.
- Action: The meeting of people from the black belt area will be ask to comment on the A/V proposal following discussion at their meeting.
VBRRA Priority Plan (Maria)
- Project Management monies
- Action: Maria/Gail will prepare documentation showing where VBRRA monies have been spent to date, and where future monies are intended and held.
- Action: Maria advised that DHS, RDV & VBRRA had signed a Memorandum of Understanding in respect of future money management, and that Kirsten was attempting to have some greater flexibility inserted in the final documentation.
- Christine Nixon public meeting (Wednesday 31st March)
- Action: Agreed (Warwick/Helen) that invitations to attend but not participate be extended to all local federal, state and local elected representatives be sent by Warwick, and that a council officer/Acting CEO be asked to attend in case there are questions for that area.
Sub committee reports:
· Gardening Grant (Peter); lengthy discussion took place on giving $5,000 to the newly established sustainable gardening group, via Julie at St Matthews Church in Panton Hill, to fund their program.
· Action: That the group receive the $750 donated by the Queenscliff Ladies.
· Action: Agreed (Peter/Stuart) that the committee approves funding of a workshop @ Wendy’s Neighbour’s Food Farm, and that Peter prepare a scoping document, detailing the group’s needs, for consideration at the next committee meeting.
· Updates (Stuart); Ian, Stuart & Helen had attended a Steering Committee meeting where costings were presented. These varied from the original 439 sq. mt to 839 sq. mt, and the cost blow-out had gone from $1.2million to around $2million, depending on the level of replacement of the portable rooms, which would affect asbestos removal and demolition. Council had committed to pay for car park works.
· Action: Next meeting is on 22 March where detailed costings will be presented.
Governance & Grants
· Events grant (Helen)
The Primary School had cancelled their annual St Andrews Day celebrations as a mark of respect after the bushfires.
· Action: Helen to contact the School to see if they would like SACBRA to provide funding support for the celebrations’ re-introduction.
· Men’s Shed (Warwick)
· Action: Maria advised that the Shire has made application to DPCD but the project needs to be scoped further if VBAF and/or donor funding is to supplement the shortfall.
· Removal of hazardous trees grants (Quentin)
· Action: Given that the funding deadline had been extended, it was agreed (Quentin/Ian) that the details of the grant be promoted through the Newsletter; Quentin to follow up.
· Action: Maria advised that mulching was mentioned as part of the Fire awareness project, but it is doubtful that there will be funds forthcoming for individuals to mulch hazardous trees on their properties, although this could be part of a communal arrangement made with contractor who cuts the trees down?
· Walking Trails scope (Quentin)
· Action: Quentin is to have a meeting with Gail (on 16th March) to further progress the ‘Walking Track’.
· Action: Agreed (Quentin/Peter) that Quentin would set up a sub-committee of interested persons to further scope the proposal, and that the issue is discussed at the black belt area meeting.
· Initiate the process of discussion (Elizabeth)
Elizabeth advised that she is a member of both the state government’s relevant advisory committees; Memorials and Bereaved Families.
Elizabeth advised that Strathewen is the only one of the state’s 68 CRCs to have started their Memorial process in earnest.
· Action: Agreed (Elizabeth/Stuart) that the St Andrews Memorial process be commenced by informing those people who have expressed an interest in participation and inviting their thoughts.
Business arising/deferred from last meeting
· Harry Potter books distribution (Stuart/Warwick)
· Action: Agreed (Stuart/Warwick) that the books are distributed according to the formulae that Stuart had confirmed with the publishers; Ian will get the books to Gail, who will arrange for their distribution.
· Volunteer’s Insurance (Stuart)
Stuart advised that the MAV/QBE insurance policies do not meet the needs of our committee.
· Action: Agreed (Stuart/Warwick) that Stuart would seek a better deal policy.
· LBB repayments for computer screens (Warwick)
Currently, the Minutes reflect that the recipients of computer screens would, at some future stage, reimburse SACBRA and that, without a differing resolution, the committee was exposed to a poor governance claim.
· Action: Cathy requested previous Minutes be checked, as she believed a differing resolution had been agreed to; Warwick to check.
· Elizabeth advised that, due to commitments at the Royal Commission, she would be an apology for the SACBRA meetings of 29th & 31st March.
· Consideration of meeting dates to be 1st & 3rd Mondays in the month (Warwick)
· Action: Agreed (Warwick/Ken) that all future SACBRA committee meetings will be held on the first and third Mondays of each month (note exception below, where first Monday is a public holiday, and we will have met a week earlier).
Next meeting Monday 29th March @ Primary School @ 8.00pm
Aside from normal business, this meeting will be used as a ‘dry run’ for the Christine Nixon meeting.
Monday 19th April will be the next meeting of the committee, at the Primary School, since Monday 5th April is Easter Monday; a public holiday.
Meeting declared closed: 11.00 pm.
Council Update 18 February
Council Officers continue to provide on-site land management advice and support to landowners and priority projects are being implemented for erosion control. Issues of particular concern include erosion, damage to dams, weeds (particularly pasture weeds and blackberry) and damage done to private infrastructure in high rain events. Council has engaged with 110+ landholders in relation to environmental recovery since the fires. Landowners are referred to Council from case managers, the Hurstbridge Hub, Ladies of the Black Belt, Recovery Committees, Landcare and word of mouth.
Activities using volunteers and paid contractors on private properties have been undertaken. A schedule of works has been developed until June 2010. Works include weed control, fencing removal and replacement, biodiversity fencing, erosion control and revegetation. Council’s Liason Officer has been working with Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA) in the area since November 2009. The program is partly funded by Turn Energy and Caring for our Country (CFoC). Recently a submission was made to the Bendigo Bank, which has resulted in a project delivering 100 hours of volunteer time to Nillumbik and Yarra Ranges (80/20% split) allowing us to provide some ongoing and additional support to fire-affected property owners. The liason officer is working with the regional mgr of CVA to develop a timetable of works under this program.
DSE funded erosion control works have been undertaken on 5 private properties. Council continues to work with DPI in designing significant erosion control projects for 14 private properties within the Shire. To date DPI has completed 4 designs and Council is currently awaiting approval from the landowners prior to engaging contractors to implement the designs.
Council has engaged a consultant to support landowners in establishing a biodiversity monitoring program on their property to record changes in vegetation following the fires. 17 landowners have so far registered for the program.
Landcare Australia Ltd and WACMAC funding has been allocated to undertake some erosion control and revegetation works on 2 properties.
Planning is underway to support a number of landowners accessing Caring for Country funding via the CMA and some grant requests have been submitted and approved.
65 landowners have registered for the blackberry control program. A map of interested property owners has previously been distributed to the group. Lori has visited the majority of sites with the contractors to gain quotes. The program will be quite expensive in the order of $60,000-$80,000 but we are hoping that there will be positive results. This program also supports weed control works that Melbourne Water is programming for the Diamond and Arthurs Creeks.
The long-term monitoring program of the established demonstration sites is continuing. Consultants have recently undertaken assessments of the 10 x 10m quadrats including updating photo-point monitoring and developing a list of indigenous species which are naturally regenerating. The on-going monitoring has highlighted that natural regeneration of species is occurring which is assisting in stabilising soils and reducing roadside erosion. The monitoring has also revealed that the strategic log placement program is assisting in capturing sediment, reducing erosion and encouraging natural regeneration.
· A contractor has undertaken a second round of weed control and mapping on Council managed road reserves throughout the Fire Affected Area
· Priority weeds such as St Johns Wort, Cape Broom, Blackberry, Tree Lucerne, Tutsan, Cootamundra Wattle, Blue Periwinkle, Agapanthus, Cordyline and Spear Thistle were controlled across 30km (both sides) of roadsides with high conservation significance
· Weed infestations of concern to local residents and Landcare Groups were targeted as a priority
· Weed regrowth in the fire affected area is being monitored by Council staff with new and emerging infestations being recorded using GPS units. These infestations are then being added onto the weed control program of works.
· A 10 month program of works for weed control is currently being developed.
· A grant application has been submitted to DSE for additional weed control funding until June 2011.
· Environmental Works Officers have been liaising with Infrastructure Maintenance (IM) and Environmental Planning to assist in the coordination of erosion control works on both Council and private land and to ensure the implementation of environmental best management practices.
· Erosion problems identified can be loosely grouped into three categories: major erosion problems in association with creeks and gullies, erosion associated with culverts, and bank erosion associated with road embankments. Vegetation on the majority of road reserves has now regenerated substantially and has inhibited these areas from eroding unless associated with the above categories. Areas in which high intensity fire has resulted in poor regeneration of plants are being monitored for the development of erosion problems.
· Major erosion control sites are being managed by Infrastructure Maintenance with input from Environmental Works.
· New and existing culverts have concentrated run-off flows onto road reserves creating new erosion problems. IM are installing erosion control structures in association with their culvert replacement works. These structures are generally functioning well and require minimal input from Environmental Works at this stage. EW will continue to monitor the impact of these works on road reserves and private properties and ensure environmental best management practices are implemented where required.
· Bank erosion associated with road embankments is a major concern having serious safety implications to road safety. Road embankments are at risk of collapse with continual undercutting caused by increased run-off and the dissolution of the subsoil layer. Integrated solutions are required to mitigate this complex problem.