Something for Tony to mull over ...
HILLS BIRD BATTLE HOTS UP
Sunday Mail (p26, 25-03-2001)
Winemaker Andrew Garrett has pledged to cover his controversial new
vineyard in netting rather than shoot birds But the offer has failed to
satisfy critics who say there is nothing in law to stop the vineyard
becoming a shooting gallery for native birds flitting between nearby
The planned vineyard, in the Adelaide Hills behind Carrick Hill,
epitomises the clash between environmentalists and developers.
More than 90 per cent of the Adelaide Hills woodland has been cleared,
leaving about one-third of the 300 species of native birds in decline.
This is forecast to rise to 50 per cent within two decades as dwindling
numbers of adult birds find it hard to feed and breed, particularly
small species which rely on undergrowth.
Critics of the Garrett plan, who include local residents and
conservationists, fear birds which shelter in the Belair, Cleland, Waite
and quarry reserves will be at risk if they fly into the vineyard.
Their opposition has seen Mr Garrett's development applications
repeatedly rejected since 1996.
However, a court ruling approving a separate project briefly opened a
window of opportunity before the State Government moved to close it.
Mr Garrett seized the moment to lodge another application - cutting the
original proposal from 40ha to 7ha - which was approved.
The Leawood Gardens vineyard is on a 215ha Garrett family property now
used for grazing cattle, and has been a farm for more than 100 years.
Local resident Mr Luke Frankham believes the site, in the Hills Face
Zone, is inappropriate for a vineyard.
"It is right in the middle of four conservation parks, and birds don't
know the boundaries," he said.
"They will be flying from the safety of a reserve to an area where they
can be killed. Over time you could be talking about the deaths of
thousands of birds - that is the real cost of each bottle of wine."
Horticulturalists do not need a permit to kill Adelaide rosellas, musk
and rainbow lorikeets on their properties with a shotgun, but need a
permit for other species.
However, Mr Garrett flatly rejects the criticism and says he will be
improving the environment and nurturing remnant islands of native bush.
"Development and the environment are not mutually incompatible, and if
you refuse all development you won't have the jobs and tax dollars to
spend on the environment," he said.
"I will not be removing any trees and am in fact removing weeds such as
blackberries from patches of native bush.
"We will use netting to protect the vines and will not be using gas
guns or culling any birds."
Cattle, which cause land erosion on the sloping farm, eventually will
be replaced by vines which bind the soil, according to Mr Garrett.
"I have been frustrated to billyo by the over-reaction of a vocal
minority," he said.
Nature Foundation SA is trying to save the birds of the Hills with a
fundraising appeal for research, weed removal and to encourage
landowners to create corridors of habitat between remnant islands of
When the appeal started six weeks ago the Sunday Mail reported there
were just two Brown Tree Creepers left in Belair, both male.
Then there was one.
Now there are none.
Support for the appeal will help halt the creeping silence of the
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