Annual General Meeting 2014, Presidents Report

SEPTEMBER 28, 2014

Muckleford Landcare has implemented one significant project in the year 2013-2014. The first stage of the Chinaman Creek Community plan was funded with a Victorian Landcare Grant of $5785. Four properties along the creek have had blackberries sprayed and a connecting corridor has been created on another, linking the creek with remnant woodland on the slopes. All participating landholders have contributed with cash or labour in-kind. I would like to thank all the landholders who joined the project. We hope that it will be the beginning of long-term improvements to the environment of Chinaman Creek valley. I also thank Landcare Facilitator, Max Schlachter for his assistance in making the application. We now need to start thinking and talking about the next stage of the plan.
The committee has met on an irregular basis throughout this year. I thank Barry Sutton, Sue Slaytor and David Griffiths for their continuing support.
Clearly, the committee numbers are not sustainable and we could do with some new members but it has proven difficult to recruit people in the last few years and that is probably a reflection on our inability to engage consistently with a sufficient number and range of residents. It is a fairly common predicament amongst many landcare groups. However, our situation is also distinctive in many ways. Muckleford Catchment Landcare covers a large and diverse area. Unlike many other local groups we have no natural community centre. We are a collection of fairly isolated semi-urban pockets scattered across an area of a relatively few large rural holdings.
I have thought for some time that the best strategy for reviving landcare in the area is for Muckleford Landcare to offer an umbrella for the development of smaller, neighbourhood interest groups. As an incorporated association MCLG can provide both expertise and a legal/financial framework for the initiatives of residents who want to get together and address environment issues in their immediate area. Landcare can be a potent vehicle for developing community energy and vision. Groups could develop on this model for example at Bassett Creek, Chinaman Creek, Walmer and Ottrey’s Scrub, all of which have semi-urban population densities.
I would like to thank Beth Mellick and family for conceiving and organising the event today at Castlemaine Golf Club. It is an initiative that we hope might lead to a strengthening of the landcare ethos and a stronger sense of community in the Bassett Creek neighbourhood.
If you wish to contribute to this or any other related discussion, I hope you can join us on Sunday, September 28 at Castlemaine Golf Club. Perhaps you might even feel motivated to join the committee?
Paul Hampton
Muckleford Landcare


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