I am the owner of 115 acres of land zone E2 at Empire Vale, South Ballina, NSW. My land has 1.25kms frontage to a beachfront Crown reserve. It varies in depth from 230 metres to approximately 350 metres. The vegetation is typical of the dunal area along the NSW north coast.
The land to the west is zoned R1 primary production.
Conflict exists between the agricultural practices on the RU1 farmland and the wildlife in the E2 land. One of the most problematic issues is that wildlife knows no zone boundaries and regularly visits the farmland to vary its diet. Wallabies are particularly partial to soya beans and young sugar cane shoots and cross the border nightly to feed.
The farmers either shoot the wallabies themselves, or they hire a professional.
Neighbouring farmers have killed many wallabies this past year because it was costing them thousands of dollars in lost crops. When it hits you in the hip pocket, you have a different view of the environment!
The environmental zones and farming zones do not work in harmony when they are merely narrow ribbon zones.
In the past three or four years we have had dreadfully wet years and the weeds have taken off like you would not believe. The Morning Glory has covered a lot of trees and choked them to death and the pink flowering lantana, Brazilian deadly nightshade and coral berry have really taken over in extreme proportions.
Then this last year we have had drought conditions so bad that many of the banksia trees, which provide the food for threatened species of bats and birds, have died. There are skeleton banksia trees with no leaves everywhere in the E2 zone now, and all they provide is a good bird perch with no food as the honey-bearing banksia cones have gone with the leaves.
As the E2 zone appears to be controlled by Greenies who live in rabbit hutches in town, there is no real perception of how to assist the E2 zone to portray its finer features. The people living in the E2 zone are being ruled and governed by the so-called dune carers and wildlife volunteers who live outside the zone. It is one thing to plant a few trees as a volunteer on public land and then go home to the rabbit hutch for a cuppa and cake afterwards. It is another thing to live and work in the E2 area and strive to protect it all without help and without money. No-one needs to become a slave to the environment (or the Greenies’ ideology).
We are not allowed to have cabins or development in the E2 zone, but with no income earning ability, how can we eradicate weeds and re-plant species like banksia trees? How can we protect the environment when we are being so locked up? How can we show visitors to the area all the beauty of nature?
‘Save the environment, save the environment,’ the Greenies say, but we who live here are saving it and loving it to death. We just need more of a chance and understanding to be able to make an income from our land so we can work it and improve the environment.
Now to the size of land titles in the E2 zone. The minimum area you are allowed to build a house on is 40ha (100 acres). This is far too large for one owner to manage, and it should be allowed to subdivide into 4ha (10 acre) lots with a dwelling entitlement on each which would be much more manageable financially.
The local Council is shooting itself in the foot by locking up the E2 zones. The beachfront area south of the Richmond River is the only area suitable in the shire to have a beachfront resort. This would bring people to town to spend in the shops and restaurants (look how many are empty in Ballina at the moment), fly in and out of the airport, use the other tourist facilities, buy local produce and use the ferry.
Margaret Howes , Empire Vale