Image for Lilydale Water Supply: correcting a $7m error ...

*Pic: Map from Forest Practices Plan MJF0189. Rocky Creek water intake red star left.

First published June 12

In 2009 the well-known Lilydale family of Bardenhagen decided to clearfell 246 acres of their land immediately abutting and above the intake point of the Lilydale town water supply.

The Lilydale water supply prior to the logging operation on the side of the Mt Arthur catchment area had been obtained from Rocky Creek for over 100 years, yet within 5 years of the logging operation the system was completely replaced.

The Forest Practices Officer in charge of producing the Forest Practices Plan (MJF0189)  for the Bardenhagen family was Martin J Fitch.

Fitch is a long time commenter on Tasmanian Times while always defending or promoting the Tasmanian Forest Industry above his initials MJF.

A notice of intent over logging on the Bardenhagen block was issued by M. J. Fitch (Real Forest Planning) on 12/10/2009 stating that forest activity would commence within 2 weeks, but apparently with no FPP being made available for inspection by local residents.

A week earlier the Launceston City Council through its General Manager Frank Dixon had fired off a letter to Graham Wilkinson, the Chief Forest Practices Officer, noting that:

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From this, one can assume that no consultation had occurred between the proponents and the Council as required under the Forest Practices Code, especially when the area to be harvested affects a listed town water supply.

The Launceston City Council General Manager then requested:

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I will be seeking the “ ... full hydrological impact assessment in relation to current (baseline) and future water quality and quantity issues and any impacts that may occur as a result of forestry operations and plantation establishment ... ”  as supplied by Fitch to the LCC / Ben Lomond Water that allowed this contentious logging coupe to progress.

I will be seeking under FOI all the documentation regarding this matter from The Launceston City Council, Ben Lomond Water and The Forest Practices Authority.

I will be seeking the first FPP submitted by Fitch and the revised FPP supplied by Fitch after the matter had been raised with his superior Wilkinson at the FPA by the LCC.

I will request all correspondence regarding their local input through “The Concerned Residents of Mt Arthur” regarding their attempts to expose the potential destruction of the Lilydale water supply before logging commenced.

The same information under FOI will be requested from The LCC,  FPA and Ben Lomond Water, then under the control of Miles Hampton.

After the logging was completed I’m now wondering what caused the town water supply to be replaced.

I will be requesting all correspondence from the successors to Ben Lomond Water as to why the Lilydale water supply was replaced at a cost initially estimated at $7.25 million and later settled at $7.95 million.

I will then move on to Mole Creek, a matter in which I was directly involved with Wilkinson - who lied to my face over the water intake being above the logged area when in fact it was below. After logging, and as soon as it rained, the Mole Creek intake (being below the logged area) was flooded with rocks and mud. It has now been replaced at a cost of $4.1 million dollars.

These two matters will take some time, but the cost benefits of logging in catchments directly above town water supplies to benefit local landowners through FPPs provided by FPOs for the FPA, and all at enormous cost to the community, are not readily apparent.

In these two cases the cost to replace the water supply at Lilydale and Mole Creek via the water ratepayers’ meters was $12 Million.

I will find out and when I do I will report on Tasmanian Times.

Any assistance from the readers via Comments will be gratefully received.

*John Hawkins was born and educated in England. He has lived in Tasmania for 13 years. He is the author of “Australian Silver 1800–1900” and “Thomas Cole and Victorian Clockmaking” and “The Hawkins Zoomorphic Collection” as well as “The Al Tajir Collection of Silver and Gold” and nearly 100 articles on the Australian Decorative Arts. He is a Past President and Life Member of The Australian Art & Antique Dealers Association. John has lived in Australia for 50 years and is 75 this year. In two of the world’s longest endurance marathons and in the only teams to ever complete these two events, he drove his four-in-hand team from Melbourne to Sydney in 1985 and from Sydney to Brisbane in 1988.

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Extract from FT 14/15 report: Comment 2

Watch HERE: This documentary is now 8 years old and details an interesting time in forestry in Tasmania. Gunns Ltd and Forestry Tasmania were given the opportunity to have their views included in the film, but refused.

• John Hawkins in Comments: … This payment is another classic example of the Tasmanian Joke … (with link to documents tabled in Federal Parliament by Andrew Wilkie MP

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Comment 36 ...