Despite more than four inches of rain falling in Byron Bay last Tuesday morning, a tree planting project involving more than 1100 trees was completed in Ewingsdale Road.
The trees will create a stylish ‘gateway’ welcome to visitors.
The tree-planting project called the Greenfleet Planting day, after its principal sponsor, is part of a grand vision for the Island Quarry site in Ewingsdale Road opposite Byron Bay’s proposed new sportsfields and complex.
The planting will create a buffer around the four hectare site, which is Crown land, but has been maintained for many years by Island Quarry Inc.
IQ is a group of community members appointed as trustee by the Minister for Lands, which has cared for the site for 14 years.
The buffer zone, between wetlands on the one side and Sunnybrand Chickens on another, is part of a bigger vision for a Quarry Reserve Arts and Eco centre on the site.
IQ co-founder and chairman Shane Rennie sees the site as housing a self-sustaining ‘smart park’ with its own grey water and power generation systems.
It will feature environmental studios, artists’ workshops, arts facilities and an eco-tourism information centre.
Also in Mr Rennie’s vision are five primitive camping cabins for eco-education and in the longer term, an amphitheatre for arts events and even a restaurant.
Half of the trees for last week’s planting were donated by Eastern Forest Nurseries.
Another contributor was EcoClearing.
Maintenance of the trees will need to go on for 12 months, by which time a canopy will have formed to suppress pests.
Mr Rennie believes the IQ project is the first such co-operative effort between government and community in Australia.
A grant from the Northern Rivers Catchment Management Authority will allow fencing to be installed to a waterhole and boundaries next to the plantings.
“They will provide safer access to the IQ reserve for the community to visit or get involved in the care of these new plantings,” Mr Rennie said.
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