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Councillor Column- 3 March 2020- Councillor Rita O’Connor

Mar 2, 2020

From unrelenting drought, the constant threat of bushfires, being engulfed in smoke for weeks on end during patches of extreme heat, and a variety of issues with quality and accessibility to clean drinking water, these issues remind us how interdependent we are with the environment. We have problems with our waste management, with the tips and control of recyclables additionally causing concern.

Other local issues include prevention of white snail infestation, regeneration and environmental management of travelling stock reserves and cemeteries. Bushland and reserves, waterway and roadside vegetation all need to be managed. The sensitivity of different vegetation types to fire and the implications of different fire regimes is another issue. Of constant concern is the control of noxious weeds and management of feral animals. Many people are looking at our use of energies and how we can become more self-sufficient and sustainable, whilst minimising undue effects on the environment.

I appreciate there are many groups of people already doing invaluable work in these and more areas. One of the Council s355 groups that was initiated in early amalgamation is the Environmental Initiatives Committee (EIC). The EIC would like to help coordinate the activities of these groups and support their work. This will hopefully foster a deeper awareness of how we can respond to critical environmental threats.

If you are working in any of these areas I would appreciate you contacting me via my Council email so we could compile a comprehensive list and work together to develop an overall environmental plan for Hilltops. Therefore we can develop a better understanding of how we influence the environment and how we can be more resilient and sustainable.

Councillor Rita O’Connor