Rocherlea Action Group disbands after three years

TIME TO GO: Rocherlea Action Group secretary Christine McDougall and president Robert Clarke.
TIME TO GO: Rocherlea Action Group secretary Christine McDougall and president Robert Clarke.

At 7.45pm on Thursday evening, the Rocherlea Action Group passed its final motion. 

President Robert Clarke moved that the group disband due to lack of numbers. 

It was seconded by secretary Christine McDougall, one of only three other people at the meeting.

In his closing comments, Mr Clarke didn’t mince words. 

“I want to thank everyone who has helped out previously, but I’m a bit annoyed to be honest,” he said.

“People complain about what is happening in their suburb, but they don’t want to stand up and take action.”

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It’s the end of a three-year journey for RAG, which was borne out the Stand Up for Safer Rocherlea group.

The main project for its members in that time has been the establishment and maintenance of a community garden on Blackwood Drive.

Everyone from City of Launceston mayor Albert van Zetten to former federal shadow environment minister Tony Burke has assisted with the planting of fruit trees on the nature strip, with more added each year. 

There have been frequent obstacles for the project, with loose sheep often eating the tops off the trees.

The garden has also been a target for vandals, who have previously stolen fencing from the site.

One of the most significant problems, however, has come from the group itself. 

Where once there was up to 12 people attending meetings, now there is less than five.

An ultimatum was issued via the group’s Facebook page on Wednesday, warning the community that the group would fold if it did not get the required numbers at Thursday’s meeting.

Secretary Christine McDougall said a lack of volunteers has meant the garden, along with other possible projects, could not be given proper attention.

“We’ve got all these ideas, but not the man power,” she said.

“This year we moved the meetings to nights, and made them quarterly instead of monthly, but it hasn’t worked.

“It’s sad to see the group go, but we have to draw the line somewhere.

“Rob and I can’t be left to do all the work, we need other people to commit.

“Labour is needed for this to survive.”