A visit from the representatives of the local council

Discussion in 'Designing, building, making and powering your life' started by Pietro, Aug 26, 2009.

  1. Pietro

    Pietro Junior Member

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    How do people over here relate with the local governing body? Do you keep a low profile? Do you work with them? Against them? This is a description of the first visit I had from forestal engineers working with the local council. I am still not sure if I should be really happy, or really worried. I just feel I should be really something.




    SO they came,
    and I was not expecting them.

    Two young ladies on their twenties came and were representing the local authority. I was explained that they were forestal engineers, and they were here to ??? (things they said in Portuguese and I could not understand).

    From my understanding they were organising an association: Associacao de Produtores Florestais de ... . They explained me that if I joined I would get their support. And even clarified that so far everybody have signed (i.e. there are 3 houses up the street. So I don't know if this everybody means 3 people or more). Their support was apparently very good. I would get one of them (the younger, just coming out of university) to go with me through the property, find out what plants are there, and then we would be making a plan together. The plan would then go through various layers that would give the ok. All the way to the European authority and then if the plan was approved we would receive money from europe and the association would help me to modify the land as we planned. Said like that it seemed too good to be true.

    First of all I was surprised they wanted to go all the way to the EU commission. I mean, why stop there? Once you are there let's ask the NATO or the United Nations! Maybe my land have strategic value! But of course the aim was to get EU fundings. And Portugal does receive quite a lot of EU fundings.

    They also explained me that they would "suggest" things that I was supposed to do.
    For example clearing the bushes around the house (50m?) to avoid fire hazard. And here I started to be suspicious. Because the fire hazard is important, and of course I want to pay attention to it. But would they stop there? How far will the government go forward with their suggestions? I think the next "suggestion" was that I (or them? remember that this was all not done in my mother language) was going to clean under the trees. And here I was already less happy. Partially because it is a huge work, but also because I want to have the land in the more natural state as possible. Also, I don't think they have any detailed map of the plants in my land, so far. So going around with me, with an agronomer would give them just this. And since they explained that for any change in the land I need to contact them, this gave me a bit the creeps. Do we need to ask to the Pope every time I want to weed? They explained me that some trees are dangerous (I was explained the Acacia, for example), as they are invasive, and as such planting them was going to be a danger for the whole community. What if they invaded.

    I asked about Oaks, Pears, Apples and Figs. In short the trees I have in mind to plant. They nearly laughed at me, and said there is no problem with those trees. I showed them the permaculture book I was reading: Edible Forest Gardens (vol 1 and 2). They liked it, and said that what they were doing was going in that direction.

    I explained that right now what I needed was:

    * find out what were the plants in my property (once I have the latin name, I can find out what their properties are).
    * find out what would be the native plants for my property
    * find out where to buy plants
    * find help in planting plants.

    It seems that they could solve all of this. We even went around on a 10 m walk and I asked them about some plants

    So I signed. But all together I am now in a double mind. On the one side my paranoid side does not want all this. I want to play on the land alone. Try things out. I am afraid of the government or any external authority going to dictate to me what I should or should not plant.

    On the other side they are offering an amazing help, and for someone who like me is starting this is really important. More than that it seems that we do have most (all?) of our aims in common. Stopping fire, preventing the portuguese flora to lower its density and diversity, generate a rich and diverse woods in this land.

    So if I could work with them, they would give a huge help. Of course the other side is the lack of freedom (or sensation of freedom) that this entails.

    We have agreed that in October we would take an appointment, and we would go through the plot, and clarify what plants are there. But I was assured I could sign out in any moment.

    With minor changes this post is also available in my permaculture blog at https://house.pietrosperoni.it/the-land-and-the-government/
     
  2. gardenlen

    gardenlen Group for banned users

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    Re: A visit from the representatives of the local council

    g'day pietro,

    sounds a bit like "land for wildlife" except they are admitting to international governence. up to you what you do ignore it or get involved but remember involvement might tie you in somehow, it will dictate what you grow or can grow to some extent and if you can't back out it may have an adverse effect on you selling the property later. we found that by having a land for wildlife sign on our property, but then we could just simply pull out of it. for us helped heap in getting an inventory of plants on our 70 acres and their names. also got a list of indemics that we could add in. there is a property i dunno now in western qld that is listed like this and the gov get involved in its onsale in the helping not sure how that works but? but working with gov' if there is a + there maybe a - or 2 or 3.

    all in all it is gov'getting their fingers into someone elses pie. if funding gets pulled or trimmed they most likely won't tell you and they will simply walk away from you, that happened to us.

    len
     
  3. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    Re: A visit from the representatives of the local council

    Work with them Petrio but not for them.
    We have just been through an eposode with local council that saw our land rates increase by 400%. The valuer general was acting on advice that the land would be rezoned residential and due to development close by the value of our land went from $250,000 to over $1million. By calm discussion we have shown that the land is indeed worthless and now have been offered a rate reduction due in part to the positive impact we are having on the land. Dealing with bureaucrats can be fun if you keep your sense of humor.
    INTENT - OBSERVATION - INTUITION
     
  4. Pietro

    Pietro Junior Member

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    Re: A visit from the representatives of the local council

    Hello,
    thanks for the comments.

    gardenlen, I had some difficulties in understanding some parts of your post. I am sorry, but English is not my first language, so I sometimes liss some of the shortcuts english mother tongue use when they comunicate. In particular what do you mean when you say:
    "if funding gets pulled or trimmed they most likely won't tell you and they will simply walk away from you, that happened to us."
    Do you mean that the fundings do indeed arrive, but they kind of intercept it, and just steal them?

    ALso we don't have land for wildlife here (portugal), at least not that I know off. They explained me that they were involved because my land was land of ecological ... (portuguese keyword, probably meaning "importance"). So most of the land around here is cultivated or forest-cultivated with pines and eucaliptus. In any case thanks, I agree that it would be a great help to have them making an inventory. I wonder if I prepare a map, and I go with them, I could not just have an inventory, but a "map" with the trees. Then I could use that to plan. And I could also post it online and get some feedbacks :).

    hi purplepear, thanks. I like the idea of working with them, and not for them. What do you mean by saying that your land value increased by 400%. Is this the actual value (they modified it, and now the real market value increased), or is it the registered value. So the market value is the same, but somehow you are now expected to pay more taxes? Becuase I first understood the first, but then you say that you convinced them that your land is worthless, and I got confused.
     
  5. gardenlen

    gardenlen Group for banned users

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    Re: A visit from the representatives of the local council

    sorry mate, those people their department will be getting gov' funding to run it, as with land for wildlife when we were in their funding was stopped so the program stopped, pointless realy.

    i would not suggest you pay any money's. like has been said work with them for your benefit, but don't get locked in.

    i din't pick up on your locality at the time i answered but that is why i said it was like land for wildlife that is a similar project we have over here, all to do with environmental sustainability in a way.

    the pines and eucalypts aren't natives or if the pines are they are a agriforestry project, these people who visited you will be encouraging land owners to plant indemic native bio-diversity.

    i did say there will be plusses, there was for us, the minus being with the sign on the front fence we missed out on possible buyers when we wanted to sell, not my doing just how it is, the sign soon came down. the program was dead in the water as funding had stopped for it anyway. so whatever other psoitives it may have had where null and void.

    len
     
  6. Pietro

    Pietro Junior Member

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    Re: A visit from the representatives of the local council

    Good point, gardenlen!
    Note to self: ask, if the finances start, will they require a notice ont he front door that could stop potential buyers?
     
  7. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    Re: A visit from the representatives of the local council

    hello pietro
    land value is set to allow for the rates - the actual value is set by the market (when you go to sell) As our land will not be sold but will remain as food producing land even as the city grows around us thus it has no value. It seems that land only has value if the developers want it and land that produces food is not so valuable. I think this is about to change.
    regards purplepear
     
  8. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Re: A visit from the representatives of the local council

    Hi Pietro,

    The thing that concerns me is that you didn't understand some of what the consultants said because of language. Did you sign a document? Do you feel like you understand that well? Can you get someone fluent in both languages to help you be clear EXACTLY what it is you are committing to? That would be my worry, that in taking their assistance you are also bound in some way to do what they want.
     

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