FOBIF has sent an objection to the Mount Alexander Shire to the displayed plans for a new supermarket at Forest and Urquhart Streets Castlemaine. The essentials of our objection are as follows:
‘We emphasise that we have no opinion on the wisdom of a second large supermarket in the town, or its location, or its design: we have to trust to the competence of council on these matters.
‘Our objection is solely related to the proposed landscape plantings for the development. In particular, I refer to pages 06-02 07-02 and 08-02 in the relevant section of the planning documents.
‘On these pages it is proposed to plant the following environmental weeds around the development:
‘Cootamundra Wattle: this is not only an Environmental Weed, which spreads into the bush, replacing indigenous plants and damaging the natural ecosystem, but it also crosses with our indigenous Silver Wattle and thus is in the process of causing Silver Wattle’s extinction in Castlemaine, because the progeny of Silver Wattles are now crosses, and therefore weeds. It’s like letting a feral bull into a cattle breeding stud and not having a morning after pill available. Even if a “sterile cultivar” were proposed, this would look the same as the non-sterile ones and thus act as a promotion for Cootamundra Wattle, increasing its popularity with gardeners unaware of its problems. We also question if a “sterile cultivar” is guaranteed to remain absolutely sterile forever?
‘Peppercorn Tree (Schinus molle) (which also gets knocked by heavy frost, and is not a wise planting in this area!),
‘English Ivy (Hedera helix) and
‘Fountain Grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides).
‘The first three of these are listed in the Advisory List of Environmental Weeds in Victoria https://www.ari.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0027/125919/ARI-Technical-Report-287-Advisory-list-of-environmental-weeds-in-Victoria.pdf.
‘Fountain Grass is listed in Victorian Resources Online – Invasive Weeds http://vro.agriculture.vic.gov.au/dpi/vro/vrosite.nsf/pages/weeds_swamp-foxtails-grass
‘There are already plenty of environmental weeds in this district, causing a headache to public land managers. A lot of work has been done by Castlemaine Landcare restoring Forest creek, and it would be a pity if escapees from the new supermarket were to make their job harder.
‘The named plants could be easily substituted with others less threatening to the environment: we are sure that a quick consultation with a reliable landscape gardener would solve the problem.’