The Advisory Group met in December for a very busy afternoon. We always start with lunch and a short time to catch up, then proceed to business.
Dave introduced Caitlyn O’Rielly, our new Volunteer Co-Ordinator to the group (replacement for Kathryn Dyson). I had already met her and in fact we had put together an unsuccessful grant application together back in September.
Caitlyn has her position funded for 2 years, she will be working with School Groups and Volunteers, establishing partnerships with long term groups and with the disability sector with less abled volunteers.
Grampians Peaks Trail Master Plan
The Liberal Government announced funding for the trail to $10,000,000, Labour has committed $19,000,000 and a contribution from the Federal Government up to $10,000,000.
Local governments have been lobbying local members for funding for the trail.
Plans need to be ready after the election as there will only be 4 years for the funding to be spent.
Concerns, from the last meeting, regarding the trail still stand.
Position of Convenor
I announced my decision to retire as convenor now that the new group has been established. I will stay on for the rest of my term as an ordinary member. Members who are interested in taking on the position should send an expression of interest to Dave. The position is decided by PV Management and we felt the term should be 2 years and be spread around through the group.
Discussion about the way AG members can contribute followed. The need for “special interest groups” or sub committees was discussed aligning members’ skills/experiences to issues affecting the Park, such as education, recreation, fire, community engagement, heritage, indigenous culture etc. These groups would meet outside of the AG timeframe and report back at each meeting. For it to work well it will require the broader community to be more aware of the advisory group and a mechanism to make contact with AG members.
Natural values and Cultural heritage
Ryan Duffy provided a quick update on the Environmental projects in the park after the fire and the University studies that have been done in the Park.
Sallow wattle will need to be monitored in the fire affected ground. Seedlings will need to be at least 12 months old before treating them.
The Brush Tailed Rock Wallaby joey is surviving in the colony.
A new art site has been discovered and will be examined by the appropriate specialists .
Other items of news
Walter Zumsteins granddaughter has been in Victoria and has helped Dave with information and photos of the site.
MacKenzies Falls Lease
A settlement between the Lessee and Parks Victoria has been completed, meaning the site has been handed back to Parks Vic to manage. Options will be address in the coming months, which will look at a short term plan 2-5yrs and a long term plan 5+years.
We then were taken to look at some of the Mt Difficult Rd fire affected areas and then the almost finished Grampians Peaks Trail – Hikers Camp for Wonderland. We did a loop on the still-closed road from Boroka Lookout round Lake Wartook. It still hurt to see how bare the rocky heights still are 10 months after the fire. Such a hot fire and then such a dry spring.
It was a delightful contrast to get out and walk through a thriving button grass patch.
Next we headed to the camp site being erected for the Grampians Peak trail which I will deal with in more detail separately. It was well after 5 pm when we got back to Halls Gap, where most of us were able to join for a meal at the Indian restaurant and continue our discussions informally.