Bulimba Creek Catchment Coordinating Committee
Our volunteer, Sage, sat down with Wayne Cameron, founder and catchment manager of the Bulimba Creek Catchment Coordinating Committee (B4C). B4C is a community based social enterprise that provides coordination, support and specialised ecological services to protect, restore and maintain Bulimba Creek catchment. This is in partnership with B4C members and the wider community; building a green network. They were established as an incorporated catchment and Landcare group in 1997. As a social enterprise, they reinvest the majority of profits in supporting the environment and the community.
The Aged Care Amendment
A few years ago, the City of Brisbane Development Corporation began consulting with the Aged Care Development sector regarding the potential development of publicly owned sport and recreation land -- which would lead to a loss of public green spaces.
B4C cited environmental issues in the cases of Coorparoo Bowls Club and Pacific Golf Club in a petition launched by the group. Both sports clubs are struggling financially and targeted by developers for retirement village construction.
In particular, the Pacific Golf Club proposal is a threat to the ecological integrity of the Bulimba Creek catchment. The development could cause problems of erosion and flooding as well as disrupt wildlife movement.
B4C’s tips for successful advocacy campaigns:
- Focus on the issue and avoid making it personal.
- Stay connected to your local community. Social media is a great tool to keep members updated and get feedback.
- Trust and lean on others. No one has all the answers, so be open and seek out diverse opinions and ideas.
Things to consider when organising a campaign:
Costs and resources involved:
- Time. campaigning involves labour and research that all take time. Before setting off to organise a campaign, ensure you have the time to put into it.
- Changing perspectives. Big developments seem very desirable to the public because they can produce shiny numbers. By creating a new perspective and changing the way these big developments are viewed in the community can be a very effective measure for gaining support. It helps to create a new narrative and involve the community, but this does require an investment of time and effort.
- Mental . always saying no can be quite unhealthy for you mentally, and can put your campaign in a negative light. Instead, as mentioned in point 2, try to change the perspective so that your campaign is seen to create positive change that is beneficial to the community.
- Remaining bipartisan is important. It can help to include all stakeholders in your decisionmaking and ensure that the campaign is fully transparent at all times, while remaining sensitive to all parties involved.
- Focus on positive influence and long term community benefits. Recognising the importance of incremental wins is great for your own mental health and to maintain volunteer morale. Sometimes the little successes need to be recognised, as without them no campaign would ever succeed.