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Mount Barker Summit - Conservation NOT Recreation!

Plans for the Development of Mt Barker Summit:

Mount Barker Summit – Conservation NOT Recreation

The District Council of Mt Barker in conjunction with the South Australian Murray-Darling Basin Natural Resources Management Board is planning to upgrade Mt Barker Summit, to ‘improve the appearance’ & widen the paths to ‘make them more accessible’.

There are already countless ‘recreation reserves’ in Mt Barker & the Summit is the last bastion for conservation in the area, & is about to be destroyed.

Mount Barker Summit is one of the largest & last remaining pieces of natural bush accessible to the public, in an area that is already under immense pressure from clearing, expansion, & development.

Their plans for improvement will literally see some highly threatened species lost for ever.

Native Orchids grow along the edges of the paths on the summit – for the light & air they offer – and once the soil is disturbed they will disappear forever…and the Mt Barker region will lose some incredibly valuable native vegetation, the value of which is increased tenfold because of it’s rarity in the region.

Please see the full plan plan here

Recent News:

Some concerned residents recently met with the Manager for Strategic Planning at Mt Barker council – Greg Sarre, on Mount Barker Summit.

He has verbally assured us that not all parts of the plan will be put into place and that their main focus for this year is to upgrade the car park area & make it’s appearance more appealing & cover up the buildings at the base of the tower.

He also said that they will upgrade the main walking path to the Summit – ie use dolomite to smooth out the surface, to avoid anyone tripping. They also plan to involve the local Lions Club to assist with the improving the picnic area of the first viewing area’, as well as improving the surface. Less vigorous plans to improve the next stage of the path to the Summit would also be implemented.

At the Summit they plan to even out the surface & incorporate the rocks in the path into a smoother path – ie by raising the soil with dolomite or using planks of wood to create a walking path.

Their next plan for the Summit proper is to install a viewing platform out over the summit – looking back towards Mt Lofty. He assured us that no trees would be cut down to achieve this.

Greg Sarre also informed us that they would not be seeking further public opinion on their plans….And that he was developing a modified proposal based on info from the above 2008 Woodhead plan, and that he is also referring to the 1997 plan they commissioned, which was put together with the fragile environment of the Summit in mind – this plan can be viewed at the Mt Barker Library.

He was asked where we could view this modified proposal IN WRITING & he said that as he was working on it now, there is nothing in writing that can be seen, but he said that he would ‘keep us informed’.

As he is putting this proposal together NOW, now is the BEST TIME to approach the council with our concerns;

Please forward your concerns to :

Greg Sarre
Manager Strategic Planning
District Council of Mount Barker
PO Box 54
Tel: 8391 7200
Fax: 8391 7299
Email: council@dcmtbarker.sa.gov.au

FACT: Phytophthora cinnamomi – a fungus that rots plants, is lethal to the black boys found on Mt Barker Summit – Xantheria Quadrangulata and other native vegetation.

FACT: Phytophthora can be spread by bringing infected soil, or gravel etc to an area, or be transported by infected machinery, by matter adhering to tools or bicycles & on the soles of shoes, or bringing in new plants for revegetation.

Can the council assure us this will not happen during the upgrade of the paths? That contractors employed for this upgrade will being in nothing infected with Phytopthora??

See here for full details

From the Mt Barker Full Draft Strategic Plan Strategic Direction – 2008-2018:

“Shared aspirations

Our community respects and values our natural environment. Our District strives to be progressive in the responsible stewardship of natural resources and ecologically sustainable development.

A leading and action-focused Council for the environment Water resources and ecosystems protected and conserved Sustainable use of energy

A District responding to the challenges of Climate Change Biodiversity protected, and conserved Good land management practiced across the District
A District renowned for its trees Resources used efficiently and waste minimized.”

“Goal area 5:

Informing the community of progress in the delivery of Council’s strategic objectives

Ensuring transparency in Council processes and decision making, including financial management.”

See the full plan here

From the: Regional Recovery Plan for Threatened Species and ecological communities of Adelaide and the Mount lofty Ranges, South Australia 2009 – 2014 – From Department for Environment and Heritage website

“This document notes the following Disclaimers: That the recommendations in this plan are the opinions of the author, and not necessarily the opinion of The Department for Environment & Heritage.”

“Management priorities:

Regional threats:

The species and ecological communities included in this plan are subject to a wide range of threats, which are collectively contributing to decline. Species have initially become threatened because of historical actions, in particular the vast clearance of native vegetation. Species continue to suffer the prolonged stress of past threats, notably the fragmentation and isolation of populations and reduced population sizes. This makes them more vulnerable to threats currently operating in the region.

The most significant direct threats to flora and fauna species include climate change, drought and severe weather, weed invasion, grazing and disturbance by stock, water management and use, residential and commercial development and inappropriate fire regimes. In addition, predation impacts on fauna species ranked relatively high in the threat analysis.”

“Impediments to recovery

Significant organisational-related impediments to threatened species recovery have been identified. These issues involve recovery capacity and funding, knowledge-base management systems and community engagement. Recovery management must address these impediments concurrent with threat abatement actions and habitat re-establishment planning.”

The native orchid Diuris behrii – Behr’s Cowslip Orchid is listed as Vulnerable in their plan, and has been photographed on Mt Barker Summit.

Some Threatned Fauna listed in their plan found on the summit include:
White-naped Honeyeater, Rufous Whistler, Red-rumped parrot, Horsfield’s bronze-cuckoo.

The only way this environmental vandalism can be prevented is by making a lot of noise & raising awareness. THIS MUST NOT BE ALLOWED TO PROCEED.

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