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Why protect Barrm Birrm?

Barrm Birrm, place of many yam roots, is the glorious bushland at the top of Gap Road, where the bitumen finishes. It is an inappropriate subdivision from the 1970s where there was never permission to build.

Some owners have handed back their lots to the Shire, which as of 24 August 2022, has committed to buy back the remainder and turn this area into a public reserve.

This will take money, at current prices, upwards of $6 million. My question to the Labor and Liberal candidates for the seat of Macedon in the coming State election has been: what can they commit to?

But let's be clear why it is worth buying back Barrm Birrm. There are two reasons.

First, making the land a public reserve is the only way to protect this bushland. Gates and signage have reduced 4WD traffic, but the trail bikes still go where they please. Private owners retain their right to camp on their lot, damaging the delicate ground cover of grasses, lilies, orchids, moss and lichens.

Illegal cutting of trees for firewood.

Tracks made to get firewood damage the grasses and mosses,

and the fallen timber is a key part of the ecosystem.

Only public ownership will protect Barrm Birrm.

Second, this area is open space for Riddells Creek.

When our town grows to 7,000 people, and then to 10,000, this bushland retreat will really make a difference to people’s lives.

Buying back Barrm Birrm is an investment in the future of Riddells Creek, but as this goes to press, I have had no specifics from either candidate.

Barrm Birrm is at a tipping point. It is at the edge of a rapidly growing town and a rapidly growing city. It will either gradually degrade through misuse, another testament to our inability to make a place for the natural world. Or, with protection, it will gradually heal itself.

The Shire has committed to protect Barrm Birrm. The volunteers of Riddells Creek Landcare will continue to clear the rubbish, push back the weeds, take people for walks and speak out.

What will our political leaders do?

Ross Colliver

President Riddells Creek Landcare

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