Affiliate Profile: Pindimar/Bundabah Community Association
By Alison Rogers, EcoNetwork committee member.
When EcoNetwork asked affiliates if they had any projects where an environmental science student from the University of Newcastle could assist, the Pindimar/Bundabah Community Association was the first to respond. Their detailed comprehensive list of potential projects was wide ranging in scope and indicative of where this large and well-established organisation is focusing its efforts.
The Association encompasses three villages on the northern side of Port Stephens, North Pindimar, South Pindimar and Bundabah. It advocates to ensure there is infrastructure for local residents and visitors, as well as addressing issues which affect the villages and adjoining marine and bush environments.
The Association was formed in the late 1980’s and is one of the earliest members of EcoNetwork. It currently has over 150 members with a solid and dedicated committee. As EcoNetwork highlighted in an article last year titled Supporting Members and Keeping People, it is not easy to keep members focused, inspired, connected and working effectively. I asked the newly-elected President, Vivien Panhuber, how the group supports members over the long term, she said,
‘We endeavour to support members by holding regular meetings, about six per year. We try to listen to the issues that arise, such as inappropriate sized garbage bins in public areas or other concerns, and then represent their concerns in writing to the Mid-Coast Council.‘
However, the flow of communication goes both ways. Only recently, the environmental ecologists at the Council required permission from landholders to enter properties with a team of dogs trained to detect koala scats – they were extremely grateful for the way the Association provided the connection and facilitated access.
The Association attracts new members by offering different types of social opportunities. These include trivia nights, market days, raft races at Easter and they even organise an opportunity for everyone to come together to sing Christmas carols. The committee is particularly keen to invite the new residents who have arrived since COVID to be part of the community.
One of the key achievements of the Association has been the formation of the local Pindimar/Bundabah Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade. This included building the Pindimar fire shed and community hall. As the villages are remote, a bush fire could mean they become completely cut off – having their own shed and fire trucks provides some reassurance.
The Association is also proud that they have successfully objected to the development of a land-based abalone farm from being constructed close to South Pindimar Beach. The farm could have potentially polluted the bay with abalone effluent. The Abalone Farm fight took 17 years of vigilance to defeat. They are maintaining their vigilance, however, because new proposals continue to be submitted in different forms.
As for current projects, the Association maintains a community reserve on the foreshore and a boardwalk that connects North and South Pindimar. They are working to replace the broken and missing planks on the boardwalk in collaboration with the Council.
The Association has received a grant that will assist with refurbishing the community hall but they are committed raising the additional funds required to make sure the hall meets their needs. Profits from a Market Day will go towards the hall and they would like to invite everyone to participate.
The Market Day will be held on Saturday 28 October 2023. There will be a competition judging home brew beer, a thong throwing competition, cake stalls, historical displays, BBQs, a chocolate wheel and a Halloween tent for kids to dress up and decorate. Stall holders and car boot sellers are invited to join in, so stay tuned to EcoNetwork for more details or contact Kathy Jones directly.