Editorial - October 15: Strike right balance on blueberries

NEVER did I imagine that a reader's letter airing his fears about blueberry netting turning into tattered white cobwebs would become the talk of the Coffs Coast, but it seems it has.

In the past month the Advocate's inbox has received a steady flow of your mail on the subject, and what's clear is the topic is proving divisive.

What we know is the blueberry industry has exploded beyond anyone's wildest expectations and now is a major economic driver in the region, employing thousands and breathing new life and money into a lacklustre rural sector.

Whether the current boom will be followed by a bust fuelled by oversupply will be determined by market forces, but maybe the tenor of the current debate demands the industry and authorities be proactive rather than reactive.

The issue of netting colour aside, do we need strategies to reduce visual impacts via vegetative screening and some science around the affects of increased irrigation on the aquifers, spray drift on the environment or additional land clearing on native fauna?

Getting the ecological, social and financial balances right is absolutely imperative, and as history has shown, better done now rather than after the horse has bolted.

Graeme Singleton,

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