By Andrew Wood, Blue Wren Subcommittee Convenor, Glebe Society Bulletin December 2020

City of Sydney Bushcare Volunteer Guidelines

At our November meeting, we welcomed Jenny Kent, the City’s Community Garden and Volunteer Coordinator and Aimee Freimanis, Ecohort Pty Ltd, the consultant developing the City’s Bushcare Volunteer Guidelines. Jenny spoke of the need for the City to have a public-facing document to assist with the recruitment and management of its bushcare volunteers working in the parks and reserves. Aimee will be writing a document which will become an internal set of guidelines for the City to cover the activities of its bushcare volunteers. The aim is to produce a simple, instructive document, that finds a balance between freedom and control, which will help both the City and its volunteers, and can become a model for new volunteers into the future. The document was to be submitted to the City by Friday 4 December 2020.

There was extensive discussion of the proposed contents of the guidelines especially concerning;

  • insurance cover for the volunteers; other local governments provide full cover for volunteers from 18 to 90 years of age,
  • the need for regular meetings between the City and the leaders of its voluntary bushcare groups,
  • why the City did not have a Bushcare Officer to supervise and attend the planting days and other activities organised by the bushcare volunteers. One reason is that other LGAs depend upon volunteers for much of their bushcare/park maintenance, but the City employs its own contractors,
  • the need for site work plans in each of Glebe’s parks and reserves, including the maintenance of a data base and map of works required at each site,
  • the provision (and the onsite storage) of tools to be used by the bushcare volunteers, and
  • the introduction by the City of an annual ‘Thank You’ event to recognise the work of its bushcare volunteers.

Management of Crown lands in Glebe

The City is responsible for the management of 45 crown reserves and will be drawing up a Plan of Management for each of them. Twelve of the sites are in Glebe – Glebe Foreshore Walk (east), Franklyn Park Community Space, Robyn Kemmis Reserve, Dr H J Foley Rest Park, Federal Parks 1 and 2, Bicentennial Parks 1 and 2, Pope Paul VI Reserve, Jubilee Oval, the Tram Stop Reserve (including the so-called ‘Hill’ on the northern side of the Tramsheds) and Wentworth Park.

The City has invited members of the community to complete a six-page questionnaire regarding the Plan of Management for each of the Crown land sites (by 14 December). Also, the City is holding Zoom workshops and pop-up information sessions as part of its community consultation.

News from our Bushcare and Landcare groups

The Friends of Orphan School Creek Bushcare Group held working bees to plant further native flora and remove weeds on National Tree Day, 2 August, as well as on 6 September and 5 October. A watering day will be held on 29 November and three new members have joined the Group.

In John Street Reserve, the City’s contractors are no longer maintaining this biodiversity reserve and it requires extensive new plantings of native flora and pruning of the overgrown Celtis australis trees. Further, many of the users of the Reserve are not respecting its goal of providing habitat for small birds and are damaging the native flora and lawn. It was decided that the Society should organise a meeting in the New Year to discuss how best to solve the problems.

The Glebe Palmerston and Surrounds Landcare Group report that work on the park upgrade continues – the upper and lower Palmerston Ave sections have both been closed to pedestrians for a lengthy time and they have had to use alternative paths to access the Glebe Light Rail stop.

In Harold Park and Johnstons Creek, a planting guide has been provided by the City for the naturalisation of the southern side of Johnstons Creek between the bridges over The Crescent and Dalgal Way. Sophie Golding, the City’s Urban Ecology Coordinator, will be contacted regarding the appropriateness of the species selected for the plantings.