Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wheelbarrow Diplomacy

Friends of Felton took Toowoomba by storm on Monday when they descended on the city centre armed with wheelbarrows full of vegetables.

Recent research has revealed the Felton/ Cambooya/Wyreema district supports a horticultural industry earning over $23million/yr and employing over 340 people. Every week, these farms produce 750,000 lettuces, 65,000 cauliflowers, and 60,000 bunches of celery.

If the Felton project is allowed to proceed, it would set a precedent for other mining projects right across the Toowoomba region. New Hope Coal has identified coal deposits at Wyreema, Pittsworth, Wellcamp, and Mount Russell. Coalworks Ltd is studying the feasibility of a mine at Hodgson Vale - a suburb of Toowoomba City.
Let's put a stop to this madness.

1 comment:

Win said...

Thanks FOF.
This is a beautiful valley.

Suppose for a moment that we need more coal mines to maintain our national lifestyes, then where should they be? (This is a questionable assumption, but I’ll get to that later).
- a planning need - we need plans that identify mining zones and keeps them separate from food production zones?
What scale would these plans need to be, to effectively cover the issues – local, regional, catchment, state, national??
What is the size of any buffer zone needed between mines and croplands?

We need our governments to ensure that our food supply is secure - that crops are not contaminated by dust, air pollution or water pollution, nor do they fail due to lack of water (following competing use in mines).

I am looking at the draft SE Queensland Regional Plan, open for comments until 3rd April:
"Planning schemes must define relevant land use zones in a way that permits resource
development where appropriate."

Maybe ok providing the zones are defined clearly enough so that people can choose what sort of long term community future they want to live in (mining or farming).

People need to have information and stability so they can decide where to invest not only financially in building their homes and businesses, and invest their lives in working to build a future for their ...

More from the SEQ Regional Plan:
"Local government planning schemes will continue to identify and protect key mineral resource areas from inappropriate development."

Oh, so the buck is passed to local governments.

Is there a current one from Toowoomba Regional Council? Was there such a plan from the old councils before amalgamation? (Cambooya and Clifton) (see answers below below)

Oh - but anyway, the SEQ regional plan only covers Toowoomba city not the rural parts of the new Toowoomba REgional Council. ???? This is very coherent isnt it (not).

"Toowoomba Regional Council has indicated they will proceed with strategic planning for the Toowoomba region in 2009/10"
but the Toowoomba Regional Council website says:

"Over Toowoomba Regional Council's transition period, council’s Planning & Development Services information is being streamlined. At this time please contact your local district service centre for information relevant to that area."

Was there a plan for a mining zone from the old Cambooya Shire?? (is that the relevant old shire?) yes there was. Also there was such in the old Clifton shire. Aha, the mine zone spanned across the boundaries between those two shires - lack of planning coordination seems likely at this local scale.

Isn't this more a state planning concern?

Is it the state government that will approve whether the coal mines will go ahead? If so they must balance the pros and cons of all coal mine proposals and could for example approve mines in pastoral rangelands but not in croplands?
Phew, that Qld planning department is huge with many committees. You could spend a long time lobbying there. What experience have you had from any of them? - any joy -? I see you went direct to the premier.
Since there are other coal mines proposed in farming land, in the Gloucester area and Liverpool Plains, in NSW, is it more a national planning concern?
Considering climate change issues and carbon emissions, the approval or not of these mines is even more a global concern rather than state?

I start to think that Ambre have found themselves a planning gap ...

Sorry if I'm covering what you already know - this is all new to me and I am trying to find a crumb of evidence that there is a government that will do its job properly, and make plans that allow citizens to reasonably make their decisions and plan their lives.

ok - since Felton is not in SEQ regional plan, then Felton should look to

a) "Blueprint for the Bush" for a plan with legal status, - but there is no plan yet for this region (only for Maranoa ie Chinchilla and westwards)


b) Eastern Downs Regional Regional Planning Advisory Committee's (EDRPAC) new regional planning initiative, for a plan without legal status: "The [New Horizons] plan will provide guidance on the future growth and development of the Eastern Downs region."
- - but it seems to have disappeared from www so I assume it is not current.

Thanks for listening.
My conclusion is - landuse plans do not exist at the right scale to respond to the issue of food security/prime cropping land vs energy security/coal mining

.... good luck