A Time of Firsts…
Earlier this year, I was heavily involved in a protest against salmon farming.
The group to which I belonged was endeavouring to stop a private company and the Liberal Government of Tasmania from placing 28 high density pens off a the popular east coast.
Because of private commitments, I had to leave the organisational wing of the group but not before I and many others had been subjected to attacks on social media by our detractors.
I had cause to reflect that whilst they hit us round the head with so-called scientific evidence that all was clean and green (to be refuted tonight by the ABC Four Corners programme 8.30PM Australian Eastern Summertime and refuted numerous times over by leading newspapers like The Australian), there were those of us who merely want to keep the east coast as it is. Currently, apart from low key shellfish farms, it is an uncluttered pathway to a stupendous island which is designated world heritage…
The reasons some of us wanted status quo were in our hearts and souls. And that’s not something that is easy for some people to articulate. Yesterday, as I walked along one of the beaches that face the bay in question, I wondered why I feel so strongly about this coast.
Put simply, it’s a series of ‘firsts’.
Firstly, there is my family history. It goes back ninety odd years in the region and the beach on which I stood thinking about this is named after my grandfather – Millington’s Beach.
Then there was my first trip to the beach.
First hand-caught wild fish.
First family boat.
First family dinghy.
First row on own in a dinghy (at the bay in question).
First yacht race.
First story ever written.
And so on…
This place was once a quiet little village filled with professional fishermen, where the sandbar was kept open by them dragging their scallop dredges as they made their way to sea. I have seen the village with idiosyncratic gravel roads and no gutters, with an Aladdin’s Cave of a general store and where the local farmer would deliver fresh unpasteurised milk and cream straight from the cows to our houses every day.
My memory of firsts sits alongside those memories and the memories my own children have, and I look at what we have left and want to cherish it for further generations.
But I suspect those grandkids will never have the freedom and thrill of firsts because the Government has given money to Glamorgan Spring Bay Council and to private enterprise to follow the path of industrial zoning required for the placing of the salmon pens. This precious tourist coast is about to become ‘industrial’.
Ironically though, it must be said that this is not the first time, this Council, this mayor and this Liberal Government have made a mistake of classic and rebounding proportions.
And it won’t be the first time that voter backlash is felt either…