Save the date! BEAM AGM dinner: Saturday September 16th

BEAM AGM Dinner: Saturday September 16th

This year’s AGM will be held at the Anglican Parish Hall in Seymour and will feature a guest speaker from the Moreland Energy Foundation on community-owned renewable energy projects. More details to come, but in the meantime you can check out this article from RenewEconomy on the importance of community energy projects.

Please consider joining the BEAM committee: a message from our President, Richard Telford

I recognise that there are few other independent groups in our region that have a voice, and stand up for issues that affect our environment. We, as a group, fill a vital role for our wider community. We are facing a very interesting time in our region as we transition to renewables, especially up here in Seymour, with the pumped hydro, wind farm and community solar on the cards. Once we get this community solar model up and running at the Seymour Sports and Aquatic Centre, we will have a model that can be replicated around the shire.

I know that everybody is very busy. It comes part and parcel with caring for the world outside of our own households. It’s not easy to find the time to prioritise things that do not immediately affect us, but, we do not live in a bubble. Eventually these bigger picture issues will affect us. What gives me strength is knowing that our small group has such a BIG say in our region. People listen to us because of what we do and what we stand for. We can achieve so much more as a group than we can as individuals, mostly by chipping in just a couple of hours here and there.

We are building fertile soil, and it’s an exciting road ahead. Your energy can make BEAM stronger. Are you in?

The BEAM committee meets every 1-2 months. Meetings are a social, community building event with a shared dinner. We recognise that everyone has skills and knowledge to offer BEAM, and we encourage anyone who might be interested in joining the committee to send us an email to beam.inc@hotmail.com. 

Seymour Structure Plan out for public consultation

A draft of the Seymour Structure Plan will be available for public comment and feedback for six weeks from 31st July to 11th September.  A draft of the Seymour Structure Plan was presented to the Mitchell Shire Councillors for a vote on June 19th.  However, the Councillors wanted more time to review the plan and incorporate some changes and finally endorsed the Draft Seymour Structure Plan to go out on public consultation on 17th July – a good sign that the Councillors are taking their responsibilities very seriously.

Drop in sessions will take place at Chittick Place, Seymour Sports & Aquatic Centre, on:

  • Thursday 3rd August 2pm – 8pm
  • Tuesday 15th August 2pm – 8pm
  • Wednesday 23rd August 10.30am – 4.30pm
  • Thursday 7th September 2pm – 8pm

Documentation will soon be available on the Seymour 3660 website www.seymour3660.com.au.

Sustainable Seymour Network members will be preparing submissions on the plan.  If you have any comments on the Plan, please forward them to Council and also to Peter Mitchell so they can also be considered and added to our submissions.

Plastic bags, plastic packaging and microbead controls- when will our governments provide the leadership the community is crying for?

Plastic waste is a big issue in our community, and perhaps moreso in our oceans for many years… too many years. There is a reluctance for Governments both Federal and State to do their homework and set some tough boundaries on packaging and microbeads with any urgency.

The ABC program War on Waste has generated a flurry of activity in the community around reducing and recycling single use plastic. It seems the community, and now businesses are ahead of the Victorian government, with the big 2 supermarkets Coles and Woolworths announcing last week that they will phase out single use plastic bags over the next 12 months.

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Planting Day completes a Broadford link started by BEAM in 1990

 

On Sunday 18th June, Broadford Land Management Group (BLMG) organised a planting day to complete the parkland link through Whiteman’s Reserve between Wandong Road and Sunday Creek begun in 1990.  31 people came to the planting day including members of Sunday Creek/Dry Creek Landcare Group and the 1st Broadford Scouts.  600 trees, shrubs, sedges and tussock grasses were planted.

Planting at the “new” Whiteman’s Reserve was one of the first activities of the newly formed Broadford Environmental Action Movement (later BEAM Mitchell Environment Group) in 1990 (see Broadford Community News August 1990 below).  Bob Tomkins, a long-term member of the group, says that this corridor was part of a larger vision for wildlife corridors and walking trails proposed by Dr Colin Officer and other members of BEAM in 1995.

The project aimed to turn a drainage reserve full of weeds and piles of dredgings into an attractive parkland of native vegetation, with links between the golf course to Sunday Creek and downstream to Davidson Street.  Funding has come from Mitchell Shire Council and more recently from a Goulburn Broken CMA Regional Riparian Action Plan Grant to complete the planting in Whiteman’s Reserve and replace the masses of woody weeds along Sunday Creek downstream to Broadford.

Many working bees later, and with great support from Mitchell Shire Council’s Environmental Programs staff, Whiteman’s Reserve is now a very attractive route for walkers in Broadford and a safe corridor for wildlife.

If you want to see a Powerpoint walk down the Reserve and listen to Lee McKenzie, President of BLMG, talking to Mark Perrott from Mitchell Community Radio (OKRFM at 98.3 Kilmore and 97.1FM in Wallan) during the planting day, please contact the Secretary of BLMG at mitchell.moss@iinet.net.au.  (Apologies to those without Powerpoint – and please suggest an alternative format that is not 100MB in Youtube or similarly large file size).

From Broadford “Community News” Volume 2 No. 4 August 1990 Continue reading

#WaronWaste inspires local community

The recent ABC 3-part program War on Waste has generated a lot of conversations and interest both locally and across the nation about living more sustainably to reduce waste.

Reducing the amount of soft plastic heading to landfill was one of the key messages of the program. While we can cut back on our consumption of plastic bags and packaging by growing our own food and cooking from scratch, bringing our own re-usable shopping and produce bags, and buying in bulk from the BEAM Bulk Food Scheme, we can also make sure that any soft plastics we do collect are recycled through effective programs like Victorian-based REDcycle.

Currently, there are no official REDcycle soft plastic recycling bin in the Mitchell Shire. And due to the huge response to the War on Waste program, the bins are now in high demand, with a limited number able to be distributed. But thanks to the advocacy of Kilmore local Carol, we will soon be getting a REDcycle bin at the Kilmore Coles. Carol says she was “in the right place at the right time”, and spoke to the local store Manager not long after the program aired and some discussions popped up on the local community facebook page. Carol’s passion and enthusiasm convinced the local Manager to push the issue further and earlier this week she confirmed that the bin would arrive in Kilmore in about 3 months time.

In the meantime, Kilmore Coles staff are happy to commence collecting soft plastics to store out the back and be sent to REDcycle. So head to the REDcycle website for more information on what soft plastics you can include in your collection.

With Plastic Free July coming up very soon, we encourage you to keep sharing your ideas about what we can do locally and in our own homes to the BEAM Sustainability Network facebook page.

If you happened to miss this fantastic program head to the War on Waste website where you can watch all 3 episodes and access a host of great information about the waste problem in Australia and what we can do to address it.

 

 

Clean up Kilmore

Councillor and long time BEAM member David Atkinson and a small group of locals teamed up for the first Clean Up Kilmore day on Sunday the 28th of May. David gives this wrap up of the event:

The day started out cool but sunny. We decided to clean up along the Kilmore Creek from the back of the fish and chip shop [Union St] and went north to the back of foodworks. The rubbish mainly consisted of plastic bags which you can see from the attached photos.

It was disturbing to see three of the shopping trollies l pulled out of the creek and put in one area for ease of pick up at the corner of Patrick and Mills St [with coles advised to pick them up with the pick up location etc] had been thrown back in the creek in the same location.

There was also a lot of packaging material [wrap and Styrofoam] at the back of the furniture store. We were doing so well [although the long wet grass made it difficult to get real close to the creek] we decided to cross the creek and return back via the other side. We made it back to Union rd and decided to keep going back to mill st when the skies opened up with rain and hail. We shortly thereafter, pulled the pin and decided not to worry about lunch as a hot shower seemed more inviting for some!

There was a competition for the strangest/most interesting thing found. It was a thong and not the type you put on your feet!

Overall, we picked up over a dozen bags of rubbish and recycling. This time [to my surprise] it was mostly rubbish due to plastic bags and packaging. In summary, the trial event was very successful even though it was not advertised and so we hope it may become a monthly event. Next time we are looking at picking up, as suggested by Marie, on East street near the golf course.

David Atkinson

Clean Up Kilmore Co-ordinator
BEAM Mitchell Environment Group

Make sure you check out the War On Waste on the ABC

 

Victorian Greenhouse Alliances 2017 Conference report

David Atkinson recently attended the Victorian Greenhouse Alliances conference on behalf of Mitchell Shire Council. Greenhouse Alliances are partnerships of local governments and other organisations responding to climate change through implementing projects. Covering 70 councils and most of Victoria, the ten Greenhouse Alliances work with their members, community and partners in mitigation, adaptation and sequestration activity. His report follows:

The plenary on what can Australia can learn from Germany’s energy transition featured key speaker [Dr Anne Kallies, RMIT] from Germany who spoke about energy transition and bringing back utilities to local government. In the post-war period, Germany had a mix of private and public utilities. By the end of 2012, 190 communities ran their own power grid, and 70 Municipal utilities had been founded. She called it “Re-municipalisation” – i.e. local government [LG] taking back responsibility for local services – especially the operation of local distribution grids. She likened it to “empowering the public”. Could Mitchell Shire [MSC] run their own electricity grid???

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The Tallarook Arboretum needs our help!

BEAM members have enjoyed many get togethers at the beautiful Tallarook Arboretum. Now it’s time for us to give back to this special place.

Hello friends and fellow BEAM members, I’m writing a plea for help from the Dabyminga Catchment Cooperative (DCC, which incorporates Tallarook and Reedy Creek landcare groups). We have been responsible for the establishment and maintenance of the Tallarook arboretum for the past 10 or so years. We have quarterly working bees with an average of 6-8 participants, but now we are asking for BEAM’s help.

The arboretum was flooded in spring, washing away most of our lovingly applied mulch. Now, weeds abound and the whole place is looking a bit worse for wear. Our faithful band of workers need some assistance, so if any BEAM members can help, we will be eternally grateful.

When?     Sunday March 26th, 10am – 12 noon

Where?    The Tallarook Arboretum, opposite the Mechanics Institute Hall

What to bring?  Wheelbarrows, garden forks and rakes for mulch spreading, handsaws, secateurs, muscles and something to share for lunch.

Please wear gloves and suitable shoes for outdoor work

Mark South- DCC