Revitalised Ulitarra to lead conservation conversation

Conservation legend Ron Smith takes a breather at the Orara River fish ladder near Karangi.
Conservation legend Ron Smith takes a breather at the Orara River fish ladder near Karangi. Bruce Thomas

NEW president of the Ulitarra Conservation Society, Barry Marks, has a dream.

Elected to lead following the retirement of environmental legend Ron Smith, Marks heads up a group of members seeking to return the society to the high profile it once held in the Coffs Coast community.

Over its four decade-plus lifetime, Ulitarra has often been an influential and respected voice on important grass roots issues and Marks wants that identity to return.

"We are a community organisation with interest in the environment, as well as a bushwalking group," he said.

"In recent years we have not been very active in terms of publicity and we are trying to rectify that situation.

"So I am pleased to announce the first public meeting for 2013 will be held on Tuesday, February 12, at 7pm in the meeting rooms at the North Coast Regional Botanic Garden in Coffs Harbour.

"This is a special meeting that will include a talk and discussion with former Coffs councillor and local activist Mark Graham about the issues of coal seam gas and mining on the Mid North Coast.

"The society is keen to promote discussion of environmental issues as well as continue the promotion of bushwalking and other activities.

"We invite members and potential members to attend this meeting."

Marks shares growing dismay that the Coffs Harbour community is in a state of slumber on the CSG exploration issue.

"It appears people don't see it affecting them and it's all happening a long way away," he said.

"They feel as if it's a water issue happening to somebody else.

"However, this is a mistaken view that needs to be corrected."

Marks also believes a resurrected society is entitled to be involved in debate about the planned Pacific Highway bypass and any Jetty Foreshores development.

"Anything that has implications for the environment, well, I believe Ulitarra Conservation Society should have a stand and make the views of members known," he added.

For information, contact 6656 4501.

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