Alphutte – alpine vandals

As a sub division within a snow gum woodland, developers at Dinner Plain, near Mt Hotham in the Victorian Alps, have done a good job of keeping as many mature trees as possible, whilst building houses and businesses quite densely. The ‘green’ aspect within the village is aided by the small bushland reserves that break up the housing.

Alphutte at Dinner Plain: bare earth where native veg existed. Introduced tree in background.

Guidelines require people to use indigenous species where they are putting in plants (Council guidelines say ‘only indigenous plant material can be used at Dinner Plain’), and lack of fencing has meant that small pockets of remnant understory also exist between houses. This enhances the feeling of still being in a forest.

However, Dinner Plain could be a very different place in coming years.

There is a disturbing ‘suburban creep’ that is evident, with a reasonable number of land owners now opting to destroy their remnant ground storey species and replace them with lawns.

In one obvious example of this, the people who run the Alphutte pizza restaurant recently completely removed all the remaining remnant understorey at the back of their block.

In spite of the fact that local indigenous species are meant to be planted at DP, Alphutte flout this law and have a large conifer growing as well.

While this was just a small patch of shrubs and flowers, if everyone at Dinner Plain destroyed their remnant vegetation and replaced it with lawn, and planted exotic (and potentially invasive) species on their land, the place would look profoundly different. There would also be substantial loss of biodiversity within the village itself. Dinner Plain is a small enclave of private housing within the Alpine National park, and weed invasion into the park is an obvious and, sadly, growing problem.

Often, these people retain most of the older snow gums on their properties yet don’t seem to understand (or care) that mature trees have to come from seedlings, meaning young trees must be put in to allow them to replace older trees when they do eventually die. The ‘clear the scrub and plant grass’ mentality and absence of new trees being planted will see a profoundly different village in coming years.

If poor environmental management upsets you, you may want to avoid Alphutte the next time you’re in Dinner Plain.

You might want to support Mountain Kitchen, which stocks local indigenous plant species.

Thankfully, the majority of people do seem to appreciate the remarkable landscape they are staying or living in, and do the right thing at Dinner Plain, by protecting or even replacing indigenous species.

3 thoughts on “Alphutte – alpine vandals”

  1. Thanks for bringing this to the attention of people who visit and own property at Dinner Plain. Its becoming a distrubing trend and isnt helped by a perecived ‘loophole’ in the ‘special area’ development plan which facilaltates the removal of notable trees without a permit from council on the grounds they may pose a potential fire risk. Adopting this attitude to facilitate say more car parking will only result in denuding the landcsape and blighting the amenity values that we all treasure. Time to take some postive action on this one.

  2. The current owner of Alphutte has only owned this property for about 3 years and this conifer appears much larger and older than a 3 year old.
    Also the land cleared i believe was the site of original herb garden and children Swing Set that existed from the original owners of Maripossa (now known as Aphutte)introduced in the 1990s prior to the current owner

    [note from Cam. The tree is against the Council planning guidelines, no matter who planted it: if the owner had any level of environmental responsibility, he would remove it. And having watched a back hoe rip up the indigenous vegetation back in March, I can assure you it was remnant native veg, and not a herb garden or swing set]

  3. Great, thanks for alerting me to this. I see more and more introduced plants/ trees at DP and know its against the by laws yet seems like Councilseems to turn a blind eye.
    Whats wrong with these people? They are lucky enough to own some land in a snowgum forest in the AUSTRALIAN alps, yet seem hellbent on turning it into a little Austria or something. Even the resort management are better land managers – they only plant back indigenous species.

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