Tuesday, 02 December 2014 14:01

25th November 2014 - Speech in Council by Alfred Circuit Bushcare Group Featured

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I would now like to call on Mr Russell Page who will address the Chamber on work undertaken in Dalton Street Park by local residents through Brisbane City Council's Habitat and Adopt a Spot program. Orderly, please show Mr Page in.

Thank you. Madam Chairman, LORD MAYOR and Councillors, my name is Russell Page; I am a Calamvale resident which falls within Karawatha Ward. Today I want to talk to you about the group of people who have got together to clean up the forest and park area in a small park in Calamvale. That park falls between Alfred Circuit and Dalton Street. It includes defined waterways, open parkland, forest, and it's also got a lagoon area.

The community group is made up of local residents. It began in July 2013, and it began with one person who is actually sitting up in the gallery this afternoon. He wouldn’t come down and make this speech, by the way. So he started it, and human nature makes sure that people go and find out what's going on in their park, so that's how it started. One became two, became four, became eight, and so on.


From that, we got the Council involved, or Councillor MARX involved, and had a few ideas about what we'd like to see happen in the park. She took on board most of them, and rejected a few, because some of them were a bit outlandish at the time. Interestingly enough, the people in our community group come from a wide range of age groups—young people and people from other nationalities. We have one or two people who are involved with us who have no English at all, but you don't have to have much English, or any English at all, to actually put your hand up and help, and that's what's happened.

As background, that parkland was virtually inaccessible to the public prior to us getting involved in it, but today we've managed to clean up quite a bit of weed area; there's a walking track through the middle of it. It's looking a lot better than it was. We've picked up something like five wheelie bins of rubbish after we thought we'd had it cleaned up, so that gives you an idea of how it was going.

Councillor MARX has provided us with some tools to help us, some safety equipment which we needed, some sunscreen, some hats—we look a bit like Council workers now, although we're much slower. So this has helped us to create a better area for ourselves.

Also, in November last year we were able to, through the Council, have a concrete pathway put through that joins Alfred Circuit and Dalton Street, which gives great access to that park and also helps with getting the kids backwards and forwards to Stretton College. It's a really good asset, and it's used quite a lot. It's great. The park is being used much, much more now than it used to be. So thanks again to the Council and the local community group.

We had a film night. The weather could have been better, as Councillor MARX might remember, but it was a great night. There were 150 people that turned up, and it was a great opportunity to meet neighbours. I'm from out west originally, so to meet people in the city is very hard to do. Although I live 40 kilometres out of town, I knew everybody around me, whereas in the city you've got to work hard to know people.

The other thing about that, it was also a good place to recruit new volunteers to the park, so we've done a bit of that as well. So it's a great set up. We've got Council and community people involved in a program that helps everybody, and it's good for the Council, too. There's a lot of free labour out there. I often think that, back in 1788, Captain Arthur Phillips brought a whole heap of people to Australia and punishment was to walk on a treadmill. Now people actually go to a health farm and walk on a treadmill and pay for it. I think they should get out and get amongst the community and get a bit of this good Queensland sunlight.

So, on behalf of the Dalton Street and Alfred Circuit residents, I'd like to thank the Council for their help. It's been a great experience, and it's an ongoing experience. Thank you very much.

Acting Chairman: Thank you, Mr Page. Would the LORD MAYOR or a Committee Chairman like to speak in response? Councillor BOURKE.

Councillor BOURKE: thanks very much, Madam Acting Chairman. Can I start off by thanking you, Mr Page, for coming in today and speaking to Council. Can I also acknowledge Mr Ryan who is in the gallery as well. There is really some positive feedback there. It is wonderful to receive that feedback about the support that Council has been able to provide your community group in the work that you are doing down in the little part of Brisbane that you live in.

Obviously Council has over 8000 hectares of bushland and 6000 hectares of parkland across the city that we maintain, and we do encourage residents to obviously get involved. Not only is there environmental benefits but very strong social benefits which you really focused on in your speech today. We do have 126 Habitat Brisbane groups across the city, and I know Councillor MARX has been working really hard with your group to try and get you established as a Habitat Brisbane group into the future. Groups move in and out of that list year on year, and we've certainly put you towards the top of that list to get you obviously onto the list, and with the formal support that being part of a Habitat Brisbane group would have.

That said, Councillor MARX I know has been supporting you already, and there is a range of other grants and opportunities in Council where we can partner with you to obviously deliver benefits and improvements to the local area as well. We've just gone out for the Lord Mayor's Environment Grants which your group might be eligible to apply for. We also have our Community Conservation Assistance money which helps you do major works.

I know that the area that you are working in includes a bio-retention basin as well as some of those bushland areas that might need that little bit bigger set of works to fix up some of the long term problems. I encourage you to talk to Councillor MARX and look at opportunities how Council can continue to support your group.

But can I just commend you and all of the members of your organisation on the great work that you are doing to make Brisbane a clean and green city, but also to promote that social inclusion and that friendly neighbourhood feeling that we all enjoy about the City of Brisbane. Thank you again, Mr Page.
Acting Chairman: Thank you, Mr Page.

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