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save the Blue Tier

news update

12 November, 2004

Gang posing in front of new C.E.C.

Friends of the Blue Tier posing in front of the temporary Blue Tier Community Environment Centre - incorporating Friends of the Blue Tier, Water Watch, Northeast Bioregional Network, Bay of Fires and Save Our Sister.

Since I last wrote a lot has changed, not just with our campaign strategy but politically - I should say the lack of change politically has changed our campaign. Maybe I'm just an optimist but the lead up to the election seemed positive and I dared think that we were going to really achieve something for Tassie forests. I woke up on Sunday 10th October hoping that it was in fact Saturday 9th and the events of the last evening were just a bad dream. Unfortunately this was not the case and the only positive thing has been Christine's success - Friends of the Blue Tier thank Christine and all the fantastic people who made it happen ..... the amount of energy that went into the campaign to Save Tasmania's Forests was phenomenal and we wish Christine all the best. We also would like to express our thanks and appreciation to The Wilderness Society (Australia wide) for their amazing effort.

Three weeks before the election the 'Blue Tier Ten' attended court for the last time, this time for the hearing. We had fantastic support from the local and wider community with about 200 people joining us for the walk through St. Helens to the Court Room. Supporters kept a vigil on the foreshore throughout the 4-hour hearing. In the end the Judge made it clear that the reasonable and respectful tenor of the campaign was a factor in his decision as well as the fact that this was clearly a local issue with all those involved having genuine reasons to fight for the preservation of the Blue Tier area. We emerged from the hearing with four of the charges dropped and the remaining six being upheld but with no conviction recorded and no conditions imposed.

Even though we are free today the Blue Tier is still sentenced to clearfelling and there seems little we can do to prevent the destruction of this special area.

This summer the Break O'Day municipality will experience some of the most senseless destruction we have known so far. Apart from three coupes on the Blue Tier - completion of Anchor Road, Crystal Hill and Halls Falls - there is a logging coupe set to go at the Bay of Fires and a large coupe at South Sister.

A community group has formed in St. Marys (Save Our Sisters) to fight to save their beautiful mountains - North and South Sisters - a popular rock-climbing destination and walk with 360-degree views of the Fingal Valley and northeast highlands. Forestry Tasmania plans to log selectively (60%) a large area surrounding South Sister's summit, with over 90% of the harvested timber being woodchipped.

South Sister is one of the area's most important tourism icons, is home to numerous threatened species of flora and is habitat for the Blind and Giant Velvet Worms - both of which are found only in northeast Tasmania. The Blind Velvet Worm is found in a very limited area from Mt. Elephant, St. Patrick's Head to South Sister and Upper Scamander. Much of the habitat has already been destroyed. The area is geographically unstable, with landslip a real concern, particularly after burning of the coupe. Springs, seeping through coal seams, rise on the slopes of South Sister, providing pristine water to the local residents ..... all this is under threat.

Where to now?
On a positive note we have been given rent-free use of a house in the centre of St. Helens for the next 6 months to use as a Community Environment Centre - incorporating Friends of the Blue Tier, Water Watch, Northeast Bioregional Network, Bay of Fires and Save Our Sisters - providing a great venue for like-minded souls to meet and share information ..... the GRAND OPENING is to be held on December 11th with Senator Bob Brown as guest speaker. Everyone is welcome to come and celebrate a positive future for the Break O'Day Environment. Commencing at 2 pm with a BBQ tea provided (pay by donation) - the day will also be a fundraiser to get the Centre up and running.

Contact: Lesley Nicklason 6378 36195 - 0400 557 418

Previous news: Lesley and Fran Visit Canberra

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