It became quickly obvious from stakeholder meetings and research that adopting the following five principles would be a useful aid in guiding research and reporting:
Encourage active and healthy lifestyles for a wide range of people in the community
Increase protection of foreshores and bushland in the catchment
Foster cross community ties between indigenous and non-indigenous groups
Develop stewardship partnerships between land owners, residents, local Aboriginal Land Councils, agencies and local government
1. Caring for Country
Since European settlement, the mentality of land management in Australia has been one of taming, conquering, mastering and manipulation. This strategy is at odds with the nature of the Australian landscape, which contains mostly old, infertile soils and ecosystems in delicate balance. The land requires a management system that acknowledges the uniqueness of the Australian environment.
Aboriginal people learnt to work with the land, adapting to their home in intricate ways, placing value on relationships between their "Country" and neighbouring "Country". The Aboriginal landscape is a shared landscape. "Country", in Aboriginal English, is a proper noun. People. speak to Country, sing to Country, visit Country, worry about Country, feel sorry for Country, and long for Country. People say that country knows, hears, smells, takes notice, takes care, is sorry or happy. Because of this richness, Country is home and peace; nourishment for body; mind and spirit; and heart's ease..
The Great Kai'mia Way project aims to revive these values of Country as a living entity.
The GRFIP aimed to achieve: increased recreational opportunities; better environmental care; and enhanced community welfare. The Great Kai'mia Way helps to achieve these aims by promoting sustainable access to foreshore areas, improving recreational opportunities and community environmental awareness.
The inappropriate intensity of development occurring along the foreshores of Georges River and the often poorly planned nature of development throughout the catchment result in greatly increased stormwater runoff impacts, erosion, turbidity and sedimentation. These impacts, along with the environmental damage caused by unsustainable recreational activities - such as illegal 4WD/trail bike access and inappropriate boat use, challenge the health of the catchment.
Sustainable Project Management is essential to achieving the implementation of a sustainable Great Kai'mia Way. The project manager should coordinate and monitor the Environmental Management Plans (EMPs) that ensure best practice environmental outcomes. The Great Kai'mia Way adopts the environmental benchmarks established during the Sydney 2000 Olympics:
Chapter 5 recommendations for construction and materials are mindful of issues such as Life Cycle Analysis ;
Throughout the report maintaining and enhancing biodiversity is a key consideration;
How to reduce waste is considered in projects;
Heritage values are respected;
Community educational opportunities maximised;
Trail planning and design involves community consultation and real involvement; and
Stewardship is encouraged.
One of the principles of sustainability is the precautionary principle. It is recommended that the precautionary principle guide development of the Great Kai'mia Way.
1. That the precautionary principle guide development of the great Kai'mia Way, and that no development proceeds till appropriate management measures have been agreed to by stakeholders.