The Tuggeranong Community Council has been busy working behind the scenes this past month on a number of issues that impact on residents. It began with a very successful meeting with the Chief Minister, Jon Stanhope. At the meeting TCC Vice President, Colin Petrie and I presented the Chief Minister with an issues document entitled, Talking Tuggeranong. The document was compiled with the assistance of TCC members and other community groups and organisations in the Valley. It highlighted issues of concern to Tuggeranong residents. We spent almost an hour with the Chief Minister discussing a number of the issue raised in the document. The Chief Minister promised to respond directly to the TCC on each issue and expressed a desire to meet with the TCC Executive on a regular basis. We look forward to future meetings with Mr Stanhope.
As the days get cooler the burning of wood for domestic heating is again being debated. The TCC supports any efforts aimed at reducing and eventually eliminating annual winter wood smoke pollution in the Valley. In 2009 the TCC called for the burning of wood for domestic heating to be banned in the Tuggeranong Valley by 2016. The TCC recognises the serious health impact of wood smoke on residents and believes that efforts over the past 20-30-years to reduce wood smoke pollution and educate the community on the proper use of wood heaters have not worked. This is reflected in high to very high air pollution in many of our neighbourhoods. The National Pollution Inventory states that the burning of wood for domestic heating generates more than two-thirds of all air pollution in Canberra and the ACT State of the Environment Report says wood smoke pollution continues to be a major problem in Tuggeranong. It is well documented that wood smoke also contains many of the same toxic chemicals found in cigarette smoke and just like cigarette smoke; it has a serious impact on our health. For many Tuggeranong residents winter is a nightmare. These are people who suffer from pre-existing heart or lung conditions, such as asthma or COPD. They are forced to hibernate in their homes because their doctors warn them if they go out into their smoke filled streets they will end up in hospital. The TCC will monitor the review of the ACT Wood Heater Buyback program to ensure that more residents are offered greater incentives to transfer to cleaner, cheaper and more efficient forms of heating. It will also encourage the ACT Government to seek federal government assistance for the expansion of the program and eventually eliminate this serious health problem in Tuggeranong.
The TCC has also added its weight to the debate over a new southern cemetery with a submission on the current proposal. While the TCC supports a new cemetery it has raised a number of issues including the proposed site at Macarthur, the dismissal of other possible sites and the inclusion of a crematorium. The TCC is concerned that the location of a new southern cemetery at Macarthur will lead to a loss of green buffer zone between the Macarthur residential area and the expanding Hume light industrial zone. It is also concerned that if it includes a crematorium that this complex will be too close to homes and it may add to air pollution in the Valley. The TCC also has concerns about the future of the horse exercise areas and destruction of an existing wildlife corridor.
The next TCC meeting will be held on Tuesday 6 April, upstairs at the Southern Cross Club in Tuggeranong. Our guest speaker will address the meeting on calls for a night curfew to be introduced at Canberra Airport. The meeting will commence at 7.30pm. For more information visit www.tuggcc.com
President, Tuggeranong Community Council