What a week: The good, the bad and the ugly for the environment

BIG WIN: The Friends of Centennial Park have scored a major victory following council's decision over the future of the park.
BIG WIN: The Friends of Centennial Park have scored a major victory following council's decision over the future of the park.

ONE of my father’s favourite tunes was Ennio Morricone’s The Good, The Bad and the Ugly.

It’s a perfect summary of my feelings about the environment this week.

So, let’s start with the Good.

It was an absolute joy to discover that Bathurst councillors had voted on Wednesday night to keep Centennial Park as an open, green space.

This result, in the face of a range of other options on the table that would see it paved and developed, is a credit to the long campaign led by Friends of Centennial Park.

The next step is to put together a detailed plan for plantings and installations so that the neglected park will finally get the love and attention it deserves.

Money has been set aside in the 2108-19 council budget to do just that.

In the words of Mayor Graeme Hanger on ABC radio the next day: “It’s going to look really fabulous in five years’ time.”

Meanwhile, a large gathering of scientists and conservationists at the Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre on Wednesday and Thursday gave a fascinating insight into the work of those on the ground and up the trees observing what’s going on in ecosystems across the state.

Some of the stars of the Conservation in Action Conference, organised by the Environment and Waterways Alliance, included the spotted tailed quoll, the regent honeyeater, the Booroolong frog and Maccas. (Maccas, in this case, refers to a fish – the Macquarie perch – and not the fast-food restaurant.)

But there was the Bad too, or at least the sad.

On Thursday, the residents of McBrien Drive in Kelso lost their fight to save the eponymous pines of the Pine View estate.

As I listened to the presentations at the BMEC, one of the residents, Jenna Lee Hurst, was sending text messages and photos as she and her young children watched the tall trees crash to the ground over their fence.

The trees had provided shade and habitat for black cockies, but now they were being cleared to make way for a new housing development.

The new development specifies native plantings, but it will be decades before they reach maturity.

And so we come to the Ugly.

Standing over all these efforts and activities is the threat of climate change.

As the scientists showed us at the BMEC on Wednesday and Thursday, in just a few decades’ time, climate change will have caused radical shifts and contractions in habitat for many of the creatures we’ve come to know and love.

Tracy Sorensen is president of Bathurst Community Climate Action Network. Visit www.bccan.org.au.