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Meet at entrance to Reserve, end of Tucks Road off Powers Road (north of Toongabbie Creek), Toongabbie Model Aeroplane Flying Club Bushcare Group

9.00-12.00 Every second month from Feb 2014

The following information is courtesy of Jason Vanajek, McCoy Park Bushcare Volunteer Group Convenor

To the casual visitor, the McCoy Park basin appears to be an unloved patch of land. One doesn’t have to look closely to see that the shape of the landscape has been artificially created. A large concrete structure designed to restrict the flow of exiting flood waters adorns the lower end of the parkland and the basin is ringed on all sides by a high earth embankment. To the north west of this embankment, exists the Seven Hills industrial area. It forms much of the catchment area for the upper reaches of Toongabbie creek, the first port of call for that run off water is McCoy basin.

The basin floor is mostly made up of mown grass, except for the wettest section, a strip of wetlands located roughly in the centre of the mown area. This is where the waters of Toongabbie creek slowly filter through, when the basin is not in flood. The wetlands are occupied by some native vegetation, many weeds and some large introduced pest species of trees. On the embankments some native vegetation does well, however it is hidden amongst a tangle of Lantana, Privet and many other weeds that I’m yet to learn the names of.

The PRCAC club get stuck in on their first workday

McCoy Park is a large tract of land totalling over 20 acres and is an important part of a larger wildlife corridor. It is important because it is at the fork of two creeks. It’s also important because, despite the fact that first impressions might lead one to think otherwise, it supports a surprisingly abundant and diverse range of wildlife.

The Parramatta Radio Controlled Aircraft Club (PRCAC) has leased a section of the park and operated their electric model aeroplanes from the north western side of the basin since before 2010.

Local residents began to notice a positive change in the way that part of the park was being used. With the organised activity and regular presence of the model aircraft club, antisocial forms of behaviour and the illegal dumping of rubbish in the area had decreased.

Within the PRCAC membership, there had been a desire to actively improve the environment of the McCoy Park wetlands. In 2013 after some discussion and correspondence between Parramatta City Council and PRCAC, Council removed a large stand of willow trees and some coral trees from the western end of the McCoy basin. During those negotiations PRCAC raised the question of what, we as a club, might be able to do to improve the natural environment even further. Out of those interactions the McCoy Park Bushcare Volunteer Group was formed.

It was a very good way to start “McCoy Park Bushcare”. We began with a group of people who already knew each other, could communicate well and worked together eagerly and easily. There is a common feeling of ownership and trust within the club and a strong connection to McCoy Park. Although currently all of our Bushcare Group Volunteers are members of PRCAC, we are very happy to welcome members that are not associated with PRCAC and would simply like to be involved in the Bushcare side of things.

Along with the social interaction and being able to give something back to the community, our Bushcare Group has three main environmental objectives:
  1. To keep the small willow and coral tree saplings under control.
  2. To keep the area of McCoy Park that we use reasonably free of dumped rubbish.
  3. To improve the quality of vegetation along the embankment that separates the McCoy Park basin from the factory units and neighbouring businesses. The overall ‘vision’ is not to reduce the amount of bush on the embankments, but to gradually bring back the native bush, instead of the current tangle of Lantana and Privet.

 

The McCoy Park Volunteers sit down to discuss the Site Action Plan and objectives as a group

From the point of view of PRCAC we see this as a great opportunity to take some responsibility for the area that we use for our recreation. Over time, we believe we can make a substantial difference. There are many benefits to taking this type of approach. Not only does it improve the environment, but it also gives us, as club members, a sense of unity and pride in our flying area. It also demonstrates to the neighbours and local residents that as a club we are not just using McCoy Park for our own benefit, but we are also having a positive impact on the natural environment as well. With so many flying fields being lost, we can’t be complacent but must be proactive. We reckon this is a fine step in the right direction.
We have found that Council is very enthusiastic about Bushcare and has set up a comprehensive program to support Bushcare Volunteer Groups. We have learnt a lot from our Bushcare workdays so far, and have found Bushcare to be another factor that adds to the overall experience of our flying club.
PRCAC has an internet forum which has proved to be an integral and essential part of the clubs structure. It enables members to find out what’s going on quickly, to gather information, ask questions, express opinions and share ideas, rapidly and easily plus it’s all recorded for posterity. You wouldn’t believe how well it works until you have such a system in place and have used it. It’s simply gold!!
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