Tweed Draft Community Strategic Plan on display

‘Living and Loving the Tweed’

Draft Community Strategic Plan goes on public exhibition

On public exhibition for community comment from 2nd January 2017 to 25th February 2017, ‘Living and Loving the Tweed’ is the theme of Council’s Draft Community Strategic Plan 2017-2027.

The primary purpose of the plan is to document the community’s priorities for the next decade and to define Council’s related goals, strategies and targets.

Mayor of Tweed, Councillor Katie Milne, said a comprehensive community engagement process over the 58 days of public exhibition will provide a variety of ways for people to learn more about this important Community Strategic Plan and provide further input.

“This plan aims to set out the community’s vision and Council’s commitment for the Tweed for the next 10 years,” she said.  “A lot of people are doing it tough and our environment is suffering too. The most effective strategies need to be identified so we can all flourish with our limited resources.

“We must urgently progress the opportunities of a better, fairer and more creative, clean, green future that is essential now more than ever with climate change. It’s imperative we get our priorities right so our future communities benefit rather than be left more vulnerable.

“The draft plan has been shaped by thousands of initial contributions and conversations from the community; through our shire-wide survey and many community engagement events.

“It’s important the whole spectrum of the community is represented in this plan and particularly in this final public exhibition period, so please have your say,” she said.

A series of community engagement events are across the Tweed this month to take the discussion out into the community.

A final version of the Community Strategic Plan will be adopted in mid-2017, accompanied by a delivery program which outlines the projects to be undertaken to achieve the plan’s broader visions.

To view the Draft Community Strategic Plan and for information on making a submission please visit http://www.tweed.nsw.gov.au/OnExhibition

For further background on the project, community engagement activities and the related ‘Tweed the Future is Ours’ initiative, please visit: http://yoursaytweed.com.au/ttfio
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To view Tweed Shire Council media releases online visit http://www.tweed.nsw.gov.au/MediaCentre/MediaCentre.aspx

Don’t Flush! Council welcomes wet wipe legal action

Wipes in pipes clogging sewer systems

Tweed Shire Council (TSC) has welcomed news that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has launched legal action against the manufacturers of ‘flushable’ wet wipes.

The ACCC is taking legal action against two manufacturers on the grounds that labelling the wipes ‘flushable’ is misleading, as it suggests consumers can safely flush them down the toilet.

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“This is great news not only for Tweed Shire Council but for all local government and water authorities worldwide,” said Manager Water and Wastewater Anthony Burnham.

“Wet wipes clogging our sewers and breaking our pumps is one of the daily challenges we face in keeping the Tweed’s sewer system operating.

“Every day we are called to an average of 20 blockages and most of them are caused by materials that should never be flushed, including wet wipes.

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Photo:  Water Engineer Elizabeth Seidl demonstrates that wet wipes do not break down (jar on left) like toilet paper does (jar on right). The wipe has remained intact in the water for five months to date.

“Australia-wide, the wet wipes problem is estimated to be costing the community up to $15 million a year in fees to remove the items from sewers, pump stations and treatment plants.”

Here in the Tweed, it takes two workers and a truck up to two hours to clear a blockage.

For each blockage, Council fitters have to travel to site, lift the pump with a crane truck, dismantle the pump, remove the blockage, re-assemble the pump and put the station back on line.

“Every time there is a blockage we also risk damaging the pump, the pipework and the electrical equipment, not to mention the excess power used by the pump trying to push the blockage through,” said Mr Burnham.

Council believes the legal action is a step forward in tackling the issue of consumers flushing these products, which do not break down.

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Photo: Reticulation Assistant Darryn Gunton fishes wet wipes and nappies from a sewer manhole at Murwillumbah.

“The next step is to educate consumers to keep wipes out of our pipes,” said Mr Burnham.

“It’s a message we hope will be heard loud and clear because if that blockage occurs on private property, it is the property owner who has to pay to unblock it. Then there’s the risk of raw sewerage overflow into neighbouring properties or the environment.”

Other items that should never be flushed are women’s sanitary products, medical dressings, cotton buds, condoms, colostomy bags and disposable nappies.

These materials should be bagged and disposed of in a rubbish bin.

To view media releases online visit http://www.tweed.nsw.gov.au/MediaCentre/MediaCentre.aspx
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Teaming up to fight bank erosion and weeds

Tweed Shire Council will work with participating private landowners to improve the health of the Rous River between Chillingham and Murwillumbah over the next three years, thanks to $100,000 in funding through the NSW Environmental Trust. 

The NSW Environmental Trust grant was announced last week by the Minister for Environment and Heritage, Mark Speakman and Member for Lismore, Thomas George. The grant will be matched by funds from Tweed Shire Council.

Rous_River_health_112517_640 Photo:  The health of the Rous River will be improved through a NSW Environmental Trust grant, matched by funding from Tweed Shire Council

Council Project Officer – Waterways, Matthew Bloor, said the Rous River has high conservation values and is located in a highly valuable agricultural landscape.  “Bank erosion and environmental weeds are having a big impact on the river but also threaten the values of adjacent land,” Mr Bloor said.

“In recognition of Council’s work with private landowners through its River Health Grants program, the NSW Environmental Trust has offered Council $100,000 to work with landowners to protect, restore and connect native riparian vegetation along the Rous River.”

Participating landowners will be eligible to receive assistance for stock fencing and watering infrastructure, weed control, bush regeneration, revegetation and bank erosion. Landowners will also receive management advice and restoration plans for their river bank based on current condition and use.

“Waterway health is directly related to the condition of banks and adjacent land. Landowners who take an active role in protecting the health of our waterways supply a vital service to the community and should be supported to do this.

“River Health Grants have supported around 160 landowners to improve over 65 kilometres of waterways in the Tweed Shire over the last 10 years. Council will match the Environmental Trust grant with $100,000 through this program to maximise the benefits this project will bring to the Rous River.”

Council to look into establishing a canoe trail along scenic Rous River

Council will also investigate establishing a canoe trail along the Rous River to promote the recreational use of the Rous River.

“Tidal reaches from Boat Harbour to Tumbulgum can be paddled year round.  Exploring our waterways in a canoe or kayak is a fun and healthy activity and great way to appreciate the unique environment of the Tweed Shire,” Mr Bloor said.

For more information contact Matthew Bloor, Project Officer – Waterways on (02) 6670 2580 or email mbloor@tweed.nsw.gov.au

Courtesy: Tweed Shire Council Newsroom
Tuesday 31 May, 2016
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See also Big Volcano Visitor Guide / Volcano Towns / Murwillumbah and / Volcano Villages / Chillingham

Knox Park adventure playground scores regional award

Murwillumbah’s popular Knox Park adventure playground is in the running for a national award, after receiving regional recognition at prestigious industry awards.

The playground took out a Regional Award for Excellence in the ‘Playspace: Minor (less than $500,000)’ category at the Parks & Leisure Australia Awards for Excellence, competing against other projects from across NSW and the ACT.

The judges said the project had converted an area with little local appeal into a popular destination for children and families to get together and have fun.  “It’s a great park that provides for a wide range of users.  The project has improved public safety and subsequently increased its use,” the judges said.

“It’s an excellent combination of fixed equipment, natural environment and shade provision.”

The Knox Park project will now go on to compete for the national award at the Parks & Leisure Australia National Conference being held in Adelaide in October.

TSC Landscape Architect, Ian Bentley (centre)
Photo: Tweed Shire Council’s Landscape Architect, Ian Bentley (centre) accepts the regional award for the Knox Park playground from Parks & Leisure Australia NSW/ACT President, Les Munn (left) and Cricket NSW’s Manager State Infrastructure & Government Relations, Anthony Brooks

The adventure playground has been extremely popular with children and families since its completion in October last year. It was installed in the existing Peace Walk, to take advantage of the shade of existing trees and reinvigorate that section of the park.

The playground was designed to engage children in imaginative play that interacts with the natural surroundings.

It forms part of a $1.2 million youth precinct at the central Murwillumbah park, which also now features a plaza-style skate park and scooter precinct, an adventure playground with cutting-edge design features, as well as facilities for basketball, handball, soccer and netball.

The overall youth precinct was funded through a $500,000 Regional Development Australia grant from the Federal Government, $250,000 from the Murwillumbah Lions Club and $500,000 from Council.

Courtesy: Tweed Shire Council Newsroom
Friday 27 May, 2016
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See also: Big Volcano Visitor Guide / Volcano Towns / Murwillumbah

Restoring waterways of Cudgen plateau

Farmers and Council are working together to expand soil conservation projects on the Cudgen plateau.

The two-year project, funded by the NSW Environmental Trust and coordinated by Council, will expand soil conservation activities to restore 3.5 hectares of riparian land along 1.5 kilometres of Cudgen plateau waterways.

Farmers_Council_cudgen_115113_640 Photo: Farmers and Council are working together to expand soil conservation projects on the Cudgen plateau.

Five landholders will work with Council to minimise the loss of valuable topsoil from farms, improve aquatic and terrestrial biodiversity and connectivity and improve water quality of the local stream and the estuary it feeds into, Cudgen Creek.

The loss of topsoil remains the most significant environmental issue affecting the sustainability of the plateau’s farming activities, polluting local waterways, degrading riparian habitat and reducing productivity.

“The plateau is one of our most important areas of agricultural land, our future food bowl, and farmers need support to protect these production values and maintain the health of the local environment,” Council’s Program Leader – Sustainable Agriculture, Eli Szandala, said.

“The benefits of native vegetation in riparian areas, for both catchment health and on-farm production, are well documented.

“However, the expertise and resources required to undertake restoration works are limited for most farmers.”

Well-vegetated riparian areas capture sediments, nutrients and farm chemicals before they enter the waterway, stabilise stream banks, particularly during flood events, and improve aquatic ecosystems.

They also provide habitat for beneficial insects and predatory birds that prey on agricultural pests.

The project will revegetate and maintain more than one hectare of riparian land, planting 8000 native trees and other plants.  Weed control will also be undertaken throughout the project area to assist native regeneration and remnant vegetation.

Mr Szandala said stream bank stabilisation and improved drainage design and management would be undertaken where required, to further reduce sediments and contaminants entering the waterway.

“Community education is a key element of the project, with fact sheets, training and assistance to be provided to participating landholders and the community about managing soil erosion and improving farm productivity through environmentally beneficial techniques,” he said.

A workshop will showcase the benefits of native vegetation for intensive production systems and demonstrate the mutual benefits of farming and biodiversity conservation.

Council has gained support from North Coast Local Land Services, Tweed Landcare Incorporated, WetlandCare Australia, landholders and bush regenerators to help implement the project and share information.

“This project will strengthen past revegetation works, develop additional areas of native riparian vegetation and improve on-farm management practices for the benefit of farmers, the environment and the local economy,” he said.

For more information, contact Eli Szandala at eszandala@tweed.nsw.gov.au or (02) 6670 2599.

Courtesy: Tweed Shire Council Newsroom
Friday 27 May, 2016
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See also: Big Volcano Towns : Kingscliff

Good news for Pottsville’s endangered koalas

A new koala project in the Pottsville Wetland will encourage community involvement to help protect and restore koala habitat.

A_koala_160834_640Photo: A koala in a newly planted tree shows how restoring koala habitat can help populations recover

The project will be funded by a grant of $99,283 over three years from the NSW Environmental Trust and a Tweed Shire Council cash and in-kind contribution of $170,000.

NSW Minister for Environment and Heritage, Mark Speakman announced the grant onsite at Pottsville on Monday 25th May.

The project aims to:

  • Increase primary koala habitat within and adjacent to the Pottsville Wetland
  • Reduce threats to koalas from domestic dogs
  • Reduce threats to other threatened fauna (such as ground nesting birds) from foxes and cats
  • Improve habitat condition and reduce weeds
  • Improve fire management
  • Involve the community and schools through koala conservation activities

Council’s Director Community and Natural Resources, Tracey Stinson, welcomed the funding.  “The Tweed Coast’s koala community was recently declared endangered by the NSW Scientific Committee, which just highlights the importance of projects such as this,” Ms Stinson said.

“Pottsville Wetland is a unique environmental asset at the back door of the Pottsville community that provides critical habitat for the declining Tweed Coast koala population,” Council’s Director Community and Natural Resources, Tracey Stinson, said.

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Photo: An aerial view of the Pottsville Wetland which provides critical habitat for the declining Tweed Coast koala population

“As part of this project, we will engage with the community and encourage the active involvement of neighbours of the Pottsville Wetland and the broader community, so we can work together to protect and enhance Pottsville Wetland and its koalas.”

“As a bonus, this project will also benefit a host of other threatened species and Endangered Ecological Communities at this site as well as complementing similar actions Council is undertaking across 268 hectares of its adjoining coastal koala reserve system at Pottsville,” she said.

This project will form part of the overall Comprehensive Koala Plan of Management to help the Tweed Coast koala population recover to more sustainable levels over the next 20 years. For more information see www.tweed.nsw.gov.au/Koalas

Courtesy: Tweed Shire Council Newsroom
Thursday 26 May, 2016
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See also: Big Volcano Visitor Guide / Volcano Villages / Cabarita, Pottsville Beach & Hastings Point