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People Power

Dear Beagle Editor, The well-attended meeting of Coastwatchers’ Forest Forum at Moruya on Wednesday, 23rd August was a strong demonstration of how much value residents place on their unique coastal environment. Although logging decisions are made by the NSW Forestry Commission, failure to protest against the these plans to continue indiscriminate logging of Eurobodalla forests could be interpreted as a sign of the Eurobodalla Shire Council’s indifference to the environment, to the wishes of the community, and to the expertise of ecologists, such as Oisin Sweeney from the NSW National Parks Association. Virginia Young, a highly-respected forest campaigner spoke from her wealth of experience on the role of natural forests in the carbon cycle and their importance in tackling climate change. Her words of advice to potential activists were: “Love of Nature saves places”. NSW Greens MP Dawn Walker on a visit to the Mogo forest, said: ”The Greens are calling for an urgent suspension of logging operations in Mogo State Forest, and a shift of the forestry industry into sustainably managed plantations, instead of our precious native forests”. The matter of gun proliferation, a direct decision of the ESC and one whereby they licenced a festival of hunting with sale of guns in the heart of Narooma, was not raised at the forum, but it is another example of the way Council has refused to listen to the voice of the community. These attacks on the environment have been criticised by the Environment Defence Office, but seemingly ignored by all but two ESC councillors, in spite of the fact that all councillors have pledged to support and reflect the values and social well-being of their constituents. Isn’t it time for council to give top priority to the wishes of residents from all political persuasions who are united in their endeavours to keep the “Unspoilt” South Coast genuinely unspoilt? In the words of the latest of Council’s own tourist brochures: “The rainforests and National Parks are lush and peaceful, full of our uniquely Australian wildlife and flora”. As the film “Understorey”, shown at the Forum, demonstrated, only “people power” will save our beloved Nature Coast from becoming the Gold Coast. Susan Cruttenden Dalmeny.