Efforts to control fireweed in the Bingie area have been praised by Eurobodalla Council's Senior Noxious Weeds Officer Graham Harding. The work by property owners across Bingie was commented on when BRA contacted Graham to coordinate BRA's offer of assistance to landholders.
"It is very pleasing to report fireweed control at Bingie this winter has been carried out by landholders in a manner more efficiently than has been during past years," said Graham. "Previous recalcitrants have carried out timely fireweed control with less pressure being applied by Council. There is more community awareness and willingness to comply regarding control of fireweed. This has been noted at the time of inspection."
"Reasons for an attitude change may be varied," he said. "This could be landholders being aware from previous experience and ‘word of mouth' that council will proceed with costly penalties or a community driven awareness program such as the case at Bingie. Or a combination of both.
"Previous council experience and experience with colleagues indicate that community driven programs achieve more outcomes than the big stick approach."
A number of working bees have been organised by BRA to help out landholders who needed assistance with their efforts. Many members have their adopted a ‘patch' on National Park or roadside that they look after regularly as well as their own property. This approach has meant fewer neglected areas are left to reseed weeded land and a more conscientious schedule of weeding by landholders has kept most properties pretty much under control - 4476 2888.
National Parks advised BRA that their paid contractor is concentrating on the bad spots, all hand pulling which they consider the most successful method. They have asked BRA members to alert Parks when they see a bad patch on Park and they will follow it up immediately.
Eurobodalla Shire Council has always advocated that fireweed be disposed of on site - plants are to be bagged, sealed, and placed in the sun to dry out, buried on the property or burnt in an appropriate manner. They also advise wearing gloves when handling the weed.
The Shire's new fireweed awareness signs are an initiative of the Eurobodalla Fireweed Advisory Committee having received $5000 for the signs from Council. Designed and produced locally, the nine signs will stay up during the fireweed season between April and November.
Council has carried out thirty-two inspections for fireweed in the Bingie area, issued Property Inspection Reports (PIR) requiring work to be carried out and has issued Weed Control Notices to two landholders who failed to carry-out directions on PIR's.
"Time taken to get recalcitrant landholders on board may be seen by some community members as inaction from Council. I assure you this is not the case," said Graham Harding.
"Legislation requires a statutory timeframe for landholders to respond to Council's requests. If landholders do not comply with Council's direction the ‘big stick' is used, comprising of on-the-spot infringement notices being issued and fees to re-inspect the land," he explained.
"Other communities in the Eurobodalla should note the results achieved at Bingie," he said, "and that control of such a quickly spreading plant requires community input and resolve. Weed control is everyone's problem.
"Council will, of course, continue to carry out inspections, providing suitable re-enforcement and back-up for the Bingie Residents Association."
BRA has offered assistance to landholders contacted by Council. The landholder can contact members of the BRA Committee who can pass on their request via the BRA mailing to form working bees to pull fireweed. It has been suggested that such requests might be responded to most positively if offered the extra inducement of say morning or afternoon tea or a barbeque. Landholders are asked to submit their contact details, where the dreaded fireweed needs pulling and when (date and time). Willing helpers can then contact the landholder directly if they want to be involved. Volunteers should assume they would need to provide their own gloves, sturdy footwear, and all else needed to provide for their own and others safety.
The BRA Committee members to contact are Chris Simmons (4474 4269), Warwick Stone (4473 9130), Jim Herford (4473 6580) or you can email us.
Bingie Residents Association