AN offer by Forests NSW to delay harvesting sections of the plantation forest adjacent to Bellingen's cemetery for three to four years was, according to Cr Kerry Child, not good enough.
“In December we resolved to ask for this section of forest to be reclassified as native forest and earmarked for selective logging,” Cr Child said. “This offer does not answer our motion.”
Cr Mark Troy said during the ensuing negotiations with Forests NSW, management had cited economic and weed management reasons against the native forest classification. “This does however go a long way towards addressing the concerns and is a good outcome,” Cr Troy said.
The major concerns were the loss of the town's green backdrop and also the bushy walking tracks used by many North Bellingen residents.
Cr Sean Tuohy supported Cr Child in an attempt to retain all the forest between the town boundary and Frenchman's Creek.
This motion was however defeated and an alternative motion requesting a 20 metre vegetated buffer along the edge of the plantation was put.
Cr Gordon Braithwaite said this was a practical solution that was more likely to be accepted by Forests NSW. “This alternative will allow the visual amenity to be retained,” Cr Braithwaite said.
The final motion, which was passed unanimously, accepted the offer of delayed harvesting and requested that following harvesting, a minimum 20 metre zone between the town and the forest be retained.