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Co-chairman, Yatco Wetland Landcare Group.

 

Interview: 2nd August 2011
 

Trevor “Nobby” Norton is co-chair of the Yatco Wetland Landcare Group “The Group”. He is actively involved in community service and is a councillor on the Loxton-Waikerie District Council. He lives at Kingston-on-Murray and is involved in the Moorook Kingston Recreational Grounds Trust. He experienced personal growth by co-chairing “The Group” and enormous personal satisfaction from “The Group’s” success.

 

During the drought and the drying of Yatco Lagoon, Trevor was instrumental in delivering a positive message about the “compulsory” drying in contrast to the negative messages and negative community reaction and publicity surrounding the “compulsory” drying of Lake Bonney.

 

Leadership

 

Trevor is adamant that persistence and perseverance paid off in securing a better deal for the channel irrigators and the Yatco Lagoon environment.

 

The Yatco Wetland Landcare Group “The Group” remained cohesive throughout the 4 year planning and negotiation period (2007 to 2010) because of its commitment to three objectives:

-  Sustainable irrigation via better irrigation water quality;

-  Restoring the wetland through a more natural hydrological regime;

- Saving water by allowing the wetland to dry and reducing channel flows to the South Lagoon.

        

Each of the objectives set by the Group reflected the incentives of better irrigation water quality, saving water and improving the environment by enabling the wetland to dry out, which all helped to maintain community motivation.

 

The Group in all its negotiations and discussions maintained its commitment to all three objectives and resisted temptation to simplify the project by reducing the objectives.

 

During the most active period of the Group, a co-chair arrangement meant that the group remained focused on group outcomes when either one or the other chairs was absent. The support from Craig Ferber at the Loxton to Bookpurnong Local Action Planning Association and Callie Nickolai at the NRM Board was invaluable.

 

During the drought Trevor and Jeff Drogemuller shared the strategic roles of hosting politicians, the media and various government officers as well as providing media interviews. The group established positive relationships with the Premier Mike Rann, Governor Kevin Scarce, Local Member for Chaffey and State Minister for River Murray, Karlene Maywald and her successor Paul Caica, and the new Member for Chaffey, Tim Whetstone, and Federal Member for Barker, Patrick Secker.

 

Jeff in particular has hosted numerous groups around the site and was nominated for a community award for his contribution to the Group’s success.

 

Sheridan Alm and the Mason family have been very supportive in hosting meetings at their home overlooking south Yatco Lagoon. Sheridan’s strategic input has been invaluable, and Vicki Johnson has kept minutes and helped to keep the group fully informed of progress along the way.

 

In general, the community and “the Group” has remained positive throughout the drought and the period in which “promised” Federal government funding took several years to secure.

 

Vision

 

Trevor is optimistic that a healthy Yatco Lagoon and better water quality for irrigators will increase the economic prosperity in the region. He sees the restored Yatco Lagoon as a significant tourism asset that will meet Regional Development Australia regional planning priorities and help to secure funding from the Riverland Sustainable Futures Fund or similar grant’s programs.

 

The ecotourism possibilities are endless and such a development could be pursued by the Moorook Kingston Progress Association and included in the Strategic Riverfront Development Plan for Moorook.

 

Opportunities

 

Trevor can see several opportunities including:

- The need to re-engage the community after the channel irrigator’s pumps have been relocated to the river;

-  Celebrating the water savings, pump relocation and completion of the Plan; and

-  Developing a new plan for tourism and tourism infrastructure incorporating Yatco Lagoon.

 

The Moorook Kingston Progress Association could provide an opportunity to raise funds to display stories and interpretation about the changes at Yatco Lagoon and the achievements of the Yatco Wetland Landcare Group. Several suitable locations could be considered including the Moorook Community Hall, the river frontage area opposite the Moorook Store, and the Moorook Community Club. There may be several private sponsors who could assist with this project.