A community meeting was held on 22nd Feb. 2014, to inform and consult with members of the local and regional community, about VicForests’ logging plans. The meeting was widely advertised and the response was fantastic. 150+ people heard from several speakers about a variety of concerns. Keynote speaker was Lindsay Hesketh, formerly Forest Campaign Coordinator for the Australian Conservation Foundation, someone with extensive knowledge of the timber industry in Victoria. There were also several shorter presentations and to finish there were questions from the floor. A variety of views were expressed and the overwhelming response from the floor was to support on-going community action to better manage the forest; generally: with a focus on saw-logs, not wood-chipping; with longer rotations where logging occurs; with increased emphasis on other forest values (eg recreation, biodiversity, eco-tourism) and with harvesting techniques less destructive than ‘seed-tree logging’.
At the end of the meeting people were encouraged to get involved in a variety of community and campaign activities, such as:
- Fact-finding and research- eg logging history of the forest; flora & fauna surveys; mapping; .
- Communications- eg letter writing, newsletter production, petitions, spreading the word.
- Community activities- eg forest walks; presentations; information activities/boards.
So, next ‘we’ need to develop these ideas and get to work. Stay tuned.
[At the outset, the meeting and all present were informed that the proceedings would be recorded with video and photos and that should anyone wish not to be identified publicly, then to let the organizers know; no one made such a request. If you are in one of the images above and wish to be removed, just let us know.]