Feb 11

“The Canadian Forest should become Ballarat’s regional multi-use Forest Parklands” Discuss

Update for the Friends of the Canadian Corridor (FoCC) February 2014

The Canadian Forest should become Ballarat’s regional multi-use Forest Parklands”

The forum is planned to be held 7pm to 9pm on Thursday March 13th  2014 at the Earth Ed Centre, Olympic Avenue, Mount Clear (go  past Mount Clear College on Olympic Avenue – it’s to the right).  Please put this date on your calendar now. We would love to see as many people as possible attending – to learn about the latest developments in the Forest, and to lend your support to the request for the Forest to be made a multi-use Forest Parklands.

The Forum will include presentations by:

Sophie Bickford: Convenor Central Victorian Alliance: “The Canadian Forest: Key stone in the Great Eastern Wildlife Corridor”:

Sophie will talk about the corridor – which runs from the Grampians to Cairns – and outline where the Canadian Forest sits in its ecological context.

Linda Zibell:  Co Convenor Friends of the Canadian Corridor: “The social and environmental case for a multi-use Forest Park”.

Linda will describe the current situation and explore broader advantages and future benefits of a multi-use park.

The Eureka Orienteers and the Ballarat and Sebastopol Cycling Club: “The recreational and economic case for a multi-use Forest Park”.

Current orienteering and cycling use of the forest and other recreational and economic opportunities that could occur as a result of an enhanced multi -use forest park

At the conclusion of the forum, those in attendance  may determine to

  • Make a request to the Victorian Government to undertake a Victorian Environmental Assessment Council assessment on the Canadian Forest. The last report was undertaken in 1983 – this was when the existing forest reserve and consequent plantation use was recommended. Now that the plantation areas have returned to Crown land status there is a solid case for a new review to be undertaken.
  • Make a request to the Victorian Government to consider conserving the existing Canadian Forest as a regional multi-use forest reserve. In the event of the ex plantation land being identified by VEAC as forest reserve (its original classification) then that land could then be added to the multi-use Forest Park. The existing Canadian Forest is in good condition and could be declared a park quite easily. A management plan including park amenities would need to be implemented.

FoCC Recent meetings and developments

There have been productive meetings with the City of Ballarat regarding the city’s forthcoming strategic plan for the east side of Ballarat to put forward the significance of the Canadian Corridor. The general approach of the city is not to allow development on the eastern side of the city on non-residentially zoned land. This bodes well for the forest.

Productive conversations about the forest have also occurred during meetings with local MPs. We have utilised the opportunity to inform local politicians about the high level of community interest and use of the forest.

The Leigh Catchment Group and the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority held a planning meeting last Thursday 6 Feb. The Canadian Forest, in particular the ex-plantation areas, is a “topic of interest” for the Leigh Catchment Group in their future plans.

Letters of Support for the Forest Park from organisation that have an interest in the forest have been coming in. A big thank you to:

a.       Ballarat Field Naturalists.

b.      Ballarat/Sebastopol Mountain Bikers

c.       Ballarat and District Outdoor Club

d.      Ballarat Bicycle User Group

e.      BirdLife Ballarat

f.        Eureka Orienteering Club

g.       Friends of Sparrow Ground

h.      The Leigh Catchment Landcare Group

i.        U3A walking group

j.        UB School of Outdoor Sciences – Outdoor Education courses.

k.       Buninyong and District Community Association

We know many more organisations are preparing letters of support.

Any organisation that wishes to hold a display at the Forum is welcome. Please contact Bob Hartman at the Earth Ed Centre for further details.

With Regards from FoCC co-convenors,

Jeff Rootes, Bob Hartmann, Linda Zibell

If you have any queries regarding this email and its information please contact Jeff Rootes on behalf of the FoCC jeffie1952@hotmail.com



  1. Ken Carter says:

    This book ‘The Biggest Estate on Earth, by Bill Gammage, is well worth a look.

    After all, it was not gold that brought the first settlers to Ballarat. It was the excellent sheep grazing land that Learmonth and Anderson saw from atop Mt. Buninyong.

    Why was it excellent sheep grazing land?

    Because the Wada Wurrung people made it that way.

    The Australian ecosystem has evolved over tens of thousands of years (at least) to be dependent on human interaction.

    The regrowth forest that lies to the East of Ballarat now (as well as everywhere else in Australia) is neglected, overgrown, ‘killer’ scrub.

    I live on Olympic Avenue, across the road from this land. It would be suicidally negligent of me to allow unfettered regrowth to threaten the lives of my family.

    If it has been deemed ‘surplus to requirements’, then there is no reason why it should not be returned to its rightful owners.

    The Mt. Helen/Mt. Clear area, with its 2 Kindergartens, 2 Primary Schools, 2 Secondary Schools as well as a University, has become a centre for learning.

    Let it also be used by the original people to reacquaint themselves with the invaluable land management knowledge and skills they had before they were dispossessed. We are certainly in desperate need of it now, to mitigate the risk of the fierce bushfires that devastate this State every summer.

    Let it be used to show how the Australian landscape really looked in 1788.

    Let it become a shining example of how forest management by the original people made a landscape described by the first European settlers as resembling ‘a Gentleman’s Park’.

    And all of your other proposed uses would be far better off too.

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