Buy back Barrm Birrm in the news!
The campaign to Buy Back Barrm Birrm is underway! We got a good piece in the Midland Express, on the back of Councillor Annette Death's motion for MRSC to support acquisition. Thanks Annette.
Barrm Birrm is right on the doorstep of the Riddells Creek township.
Buying back this land would create more open space for a town that is growing fast!
By Amy Hume - The Midland Express
State acquisition of Riddells Creek’s Barrm Birrm could preserve threatened flora, provide community open space and fix bungled planning of the past.
Macedon Ranges Shire Council is calling on the Victorian Government to purchase the remaining privately owned lots of the area to fast-track its protection.
Spearheading the move last week, councillor Annette Death said loss of biodiversity and degradation of the land was a major concern. The 120 hectares, bordered by Royal Parade and Gap Road, supports high-value woodlands and threatened flora species.
“Activities like camping, four-wheel-driving and using dirt bikes is negatively impacting the land,” she told the Express. “It’s a very special part of the world. If we don’t take care of it now it could be lost forever.
“Lots are still being sold and we want to make sure buyers are aware that this land cannot be built on, and would like to mitigate that as much as possible.”
A legacy of planning from the 1880s allowed former owners Shone and Schultz to subdivide the site into 162 lots. Planning controls prevent development on Barrm Birrm but for decades the properties have continued to be sold on to unwitting buyers.
These lots are now under the ownership of 98 different landholders, posing challenges for appropriate management of the site.
The Express understands that at least four of the properties changed hands last year and a further two this year. In an effort to transform Barrm Birrm into a conservation reserve, the council began a ‘gift back’ scheme in 2011/12.
MRSC has since acquired 55 land parcels and is in further talks with property owners. But this process is slow and relies on voluntary landowner participation. Cr Death said the state was best positioned to take action, and Riddells Creek Landcare is eager to see it happen.
President Ross Colliver praised the council’s bid for government support as a “wonderful far-sighted decision”.
Since 2005, the group has cleared rubbish and invasive weeds from the site, campaigned for its protection and educated people on its ecological value.
“The only long-term protection for Barrm Birrm is that it becomes a public reserve. Without that, there will be continual conflict with landowners and visitors to the site,” Mr Colliver told the Express.
“Barrm Birrm is right on the doorstep of the Riddells Creek township, so buying back the land would create more open space for a town that is growing in population. That’s a powerful argument for acquisition.
“This is one area where we can wind back the clock on bad decisions from the past.”
The council will write to Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio and Macedon MP Mary-Anne Thomas to advocate for support.
A new ecological survey of the site is now under way and a report outlining actions that can be undertaken to manage the site will be presented to the council in October.