Media Alert


9.50AM. AEST, February 3, 2010  

Independent Expert to conduct Crucial Hydrology study on potential impacts of forestry coupe on lilydale water

Dr Brian Finlayson (Associate Professor, University of Melbourne), and representatives of the Lilydale community, will be available for comment at 1.30 pm Friday the 5th February on site, Rocky Creek, Lilydale.  All media invited to attend (meet at junction of Mountain Road and Main Road).

Concerned local Lilydale residents have engaged independent expert in the field of geo-hydrology Associate Professor Brian Finlayson to conduct vital research not covered in the approved logging/plantation plan.

Without such research, the existing plan to convert 150acres of native forest to plantation directly above Lilydale town water intake on Rocky Creek, cannot allay residents’ fears that the quantity and quality of water to the town may be diminished.

On Monday, the Launceston City Council voted unanimously to support a motion, to oppose the commencement of the forestry operations until this study has been completed and the potential impacts properly assessed. The coupe falls within scenic protection, water catchment protection and area of regional significance zoning under the Launceston City Council planning scheme.

The Launceston City Council, and the Lilydale Progress Association have worked to try to secure access to the coupe (on private land) in order for Associate Professor Finlayson to conduct his research over the next two days. Unfortunately, to date, the landowner has refused access to the site.

A concerned group of local residents have written to Minister of Primary Industry and Water, David Llewellyn, and to the Forest Practices Authority seeking their intervention.

If access is not granted, Assoc. Prof. Finlayson will use available data supplied by the Launceston City Council and Ben Lomond Water, as well as site visits to surrounding properties in the catchment to make his assessment. A helicopter flight over the controversial area is also possible.

“It is most distressing that the situation has not been satisfactorily resolved” spokesperson for the Concerned Mt Arthur Residents group, Anthony Ross, said. “Here we have the dire situation that the relevant planning process has not done, and is not required to do the science on the potential impacts of this operation on this significant part of Lilydale’s town water supply, and yet work is about to commence. The local community, in good faith have agreed to pay for this vital research to be don but we simply should not be in this situation. The system has failed us dismally.” Mr Ross said.