The Edithvale Wetlands may be at risk according to two consultants report. Chosen to review the Government’s preferred option in the level crossing removal programme the report states that trenching required for the rail line may cause groundwater to build up. This will have to be disposed of, by Melbourne Water pumping water to the Ramsar listed wetlands, or elsewhere, which in turn could alter water levels causing detriment to vegetation used by birds for nesting or if the water becomes acidic or saline this could also harm bird life.
What is proposed is that traffic using Wells Road will be encouraged to use the bypass which will impact severely instead on Aspendale Gardens residents to the south east of Mordialloc Creek, Waterways residential estate and destroy the most important wetlands in the southwest corner of Braeside Park. Unfortunately an elevated six lane freeway will be close to Braeside Park, cross over Governor Road, through the wetlands close to Waterways housing, across Mordialloc Creek abutting Aspendale Gardens housing. Drilling is underway in the wetlands for the piles required for an elevated roadway. If it goes ahead the bypass will destroy the peace and quiet of Braeside Park, residential housing and the birdlife in the wetlands. Braeside park and wetlands which in 1978 Metropolitan Melbourne Board of Works was determined to preserve for future generations.
Residents in Dingley are concerned about this development as are Moorabbin residents because of the impact that the proposed freeway will have on the already heavily congested South Road where it enters the Nepean Highway in Moorabbin. The northern section of the bypass will connect to South Road at Warrigal Road. South Road already carries very heavy traffic to connect with Nepean Highway in Moorabbin. There are viable alternatives for the bypass such as a linking road to Springvale Road further to the north.
The proposed route can be viewed through the Social PinPoint at VicRoads.
Following a Panel Hearing at Kingston Council the Minister for Planning has approved a stay of vegetation removal on the site until January 2019. Some excellent presentations were made by MBCL members and especially a local resident whose family originally owned the land when he was a boy. He was able to give an account of the original vegetation on the site.
One brave resident was prepared to go to VCAT on his own in an attempt to prevent this Memorial indigenous garden being destroyed to make way for two netball courts. Some MBCL members felt so strongly about this issue that it was decided to give support. VCAT has permitted a number of people to be joined with the original appellant and will be allowed to speak at the forthcoming VCAT Hearing.
Still awaiting the result of the VCAT hearing initiated by opposition parties to the Council approved plan for the bike path.
Bay Trail went to a VCAT Hearing in July. The opposition presentation included a Barrister and an expert witness for vegetation. It was thought that the Council presentation was somewhat lacking in some aspects. Awaiting the result of the Hearing
Bonbeach and Edithvale Level Crossing Removals
Also awaiting the Advisory Committee’s conclusions. Kingston Council’s Drainage expert, Alan West’s excellent report on the drainage work already carried out in Edithvale (drain replacements) was received unfortunately at the conclusion of the Hearing but is a great resource to have on hand.
RAMF continue’s with their campaign. Perhaps with all the rail and road work announced by the Andrew’s Labor Government recently the unnecessary freeway may be considered to be of less importance and drop down the list!
Regent’s Park seems to be heading for a VCAT Hearing. Some support is being organised by a number of objectors who consider that the destruction of a Memorial Garden containing mature trees in memory of a dedicated conservationist, Jack Cuthbertson, shows lack of respect as well as realising that mature trees are a valuable resource as climate change is making its presence felt with climbing temperatures and drought.
A letter received from DELWP re Insurance Arrangements for Incorporated Volunteer Groups offering to indemnify MBCL for public liability claims which may arise as a direct result of volunteering activities. Following discussion it was decided to sign up but with a proviso that “we accept the offer on the basis that any claim made that our organisation is NOT responsible for the excess of any potential forthcoming claim”
Green Wedge Planning Provisions Review
A copy of this review was received and appears to be a comprehensive document with DEWLP seeking answers from strategic planners about uses in the Green Wedge. DELWP required succinct answers to questions such as :- Emerging planning issues in the Kingston Green Wedge and Stakeholders in the Kingston Green Wedge. It is hoped that Green Wedge Planning Provisions will not be weakened as a result of this review.
MORDIALLOC CREEK June Council meeting discussed a Draft Mooring Policy for Mordialloc Creek. Officer Recommendations included the following points:
- Authorise officers to cede management of A section to the Crown.
- Write a letter of support to DELWP advocating for the establishment of a Mordialloc Creek
- Write to Mordialloc Creek Community group advising of points 1&2 of this option as well as offering basic financial administration support.
- Authorise officers to provide basic financial administration support…
- Advocate for the development of a formal agreement with DELWP for the committee to have operational maintenance exclusive of dredging and any structural asset replacement responsibilities.
Although no meeting was held in June members were involved in two major State Government projects of an extremely controversial nature. These are Level Crossing removals for Bonbeach and Edithvale Stations and the Mordialloc four lane. 9 km freeway elevated to cross over Governor Road, Waterways wetlands and Mordialloc Creek before joining Springvale Road. This road will also cross through the south west corner of Braeside Wetlands thus impacting two major wetland habitats frequented by migratory and endangered bird species. Groundwater in this low-lying area, part of the former Carrum Carrum swamp, may be contaminated by construction work at both Mordialloc Creek and at Edithvale Station when the acid sulphate soil is exposed to oxygen and endangering the water quality in the Edithvale Seaford Wetlands. An Environment Effects Statement (EES) was required based on the likely impact that polluted groundwater may have on the Edithvale Seaford wetlands thus making it unsuitable for bird life resulting in a loss of Ramsar listing of the wetlands.
Residents Against Mordialloc Freeway
RAMF consist of residents and concerned environmentalists who are not convinced that a fifth major road is required leading to Mornington Peninsula. There are alternatives such as lanes added to Springvale Road in the grassy paddock opposite Waterways residential estate and Richfield retirement Village – or extending the rail line from Frankston to Mornington. Instead residents will be faced with an elevated four lane ( maybe six lanes in future) freeway built across the open wetlands presently peaceful habitat for birds and a calm retreat for residents.
Level Crossing Removals
This project also kept environment and resident groups busy during June. Although two options are offered to communities it is usually the loudest and largest groups that are heard especially if political advantage is involved in Most residents don’t like the look of the elevated rail line and think it will devalue their property whereas the trench method may create flooding & subsidence problems in these suburbs. Groundwater impact was the most important factor under discussion at the Panel Hearing 4″-1″ June at Patterson River Golf Club. It was fortunate that the Friends of Edithvale Seaford wetlands were able to acquire two excellent expert witnesses:- Scott Seymour, for many years an engineer with Melbourne Water and extremely knowledgeable about groundwater. Supporting Scott was Sean Dooley an expert on bird migratory habits. Big questions remain about the success of the horizontal pipe in a trench method of dealing with flooding and contaminated groundwater.
Some good news for a change! VicRoads didn’t approve of the use of this land for a new SES facility so this organisation will have to look elsewhere to build. Perhaps Council can promote this great little piece of Banksia Woodland for public use.
Planning Scheme Amendment C163 Submission close May 1″ for anyone wanting to encourage Council to use developer’s contributions to purchase this land for open space in an area of Edithvale/Chelsea lacking of passive open space.
Council is proposing to remove to remove native vegetation from this environmentally significant Coastal Banksia Woodland park to make way for two netball courts. There are alternative site for netball courts. A garden created in memory of a great conservationist, Jack Cuthbertson, is also under threat of removal should these netball courts be built in this park.
Mordialloc Beaumaris Conservation League Inc.
City of Kingston,
1230 Nepean Highway,
Dear Sir/Madam, re: Regent’s Park Netball Court.
We object to the removal of 23 trees in the coastal banksia woodland to make way for these courts when an alternatives site is available.
While acknowledging that the Arrows would prefer their own netball court it is also important that councils policy of greening Kingston by increasing tree coverage from a low 14.2% to the 30% recommended for all councils in the Metropolitan area it is vital that the 23 trees are retained.
This woodland provides a valuable passive recreation area for the majority of residents who don’t participate in active sport. A 30% green canopy coverage plays a significant role in heat reduction where there are hard surfaces such as footpaths, roads and outdoor sports grounds.
It is understood that the Arrows netball club have the option of an alternative site for the court and therefore the club would also benefit from the intact banksia woodland providing shade and relief from heat for themselves and the many local passive recreational residents now and in the future.
When I was invited to speak to the Beaumaris Rotary Club about the activities of the Mordialloc Beaumaris Conservation League it was, in a sense, as if the group had returned home because in 1969, a portion of City of Beaumaris, from Cromer Road to Charman Road, was part of the City of Mordialloc and this environment group came into existence when, in 1969, a smooth operator was found plotting to construct a marina in Beaumaris Bay. Fortunately residents, who lived in Beaumaris at that time, decided that the red fossil cliffs and sea ledges were too important to be buried under concrete so letters were written to Sir Rupert Hamer, Member for Local Government, seeking his help, and as a result the marina didn’t eventuate.
It was then decided to form an environment group to protect the foreshore from Charman Road, Mentone to Mordialloc Creek. The first Mordialloc Beaumaris Conservation League (MBCL)president was Jack Iggulden, a feisty Beaumaris businessman, a glider pilot, an author and a dedicated environmentalist. His wife, Helen, was an efficient and supportive secretary of MBCL. The aims of the group were protection of the local environment, particularly the fragile foreshore reserve, native coastal vegetation and habitat, to preserve the natural aspects of the coastal environment and encourage the restoration of wetlands to improve the water quality entering the Bay from Mordialloc Creek.
In 1970 Melbourne Metropolitan Board of Works (MMBW) planned to grade the badly eroding Mentone white clay cliffs. The MBCL committee would have preferred an environmentally sensitive method of preserving the cliffs but after lengthy and terse correspondence between MMBW and MBCL committee.in 1971 the steep cliffs were graded and planted with stabilising vegetation. The white cliffs may now be viewed in the National Gallery of Victoria in a painting by Tom Roberts, one of the Heidelberg school of painters who camped and painted at Mentone in 1887 with Arthur Streeton, Walter Withers and others. The white cliffs are also featured in Sandringham painter ,Clarice Beckett’s painting,’ Cliff Path 1929′ and also Mentone Cliffs (Beaumaris Landscape ) 1931. Beckett also painted waves washing over and destroying bathing boxes during the severe storm of 1934 when much of Mordialloc was flooded.
Guest Speakers at March MBCL Meeting
We were fortunate to have two speakers in attendance at this meeting. Bruce Cutts, representing Environment Victoria who is working with Bayside Climate Action group leading up to the Victorian State Election. Their issues are Renewable Energy and loss of green space. EV are considering leasing a vacant shop in Mordialloc to be used by environment groups for their campaigns prior to the election. MBCL members agreed to support this initiative. The second speaker was Jim Walker representing Friends of the Earth who have 15 groups involved in a Forest campaign attempting to reduce logging in the Central Highlands and Strezlecki Ranges, two of the areas under threat. Species in decline are the Baw Baw frogs, Spotted Quolls and Leadbeaters Possum. The Regional Forest Agreement (RFA) lease is coming up for review shortly. The CFMEU supports logging and unfortunately the local Labor member supports the CFMEU on this issue.
The Bay Trail
The Bay Trail has become an election issue with one of the sitting councillors using this for his election campaign with support from noisy opponents of the plan for the Bay Trail approved by Kingston Council, Bicycle Network Victoria and the Labor Government. Environment groups have been long term supporters of this safe, off-road bicycle track part of the State Government’s Round Port Phillip Bay Bike Path, also a long term policy. The next step seems to be VCAT for the noisy minority and if so, it will delay construction of the track. Should there be a change of Government the track will then not go ahead as planned to protect foreshore vegetation.
Mordialloc Creek and surrounding wetlands could be under threat from two developments being planned. The Mordialloc Bypass will cross the creek from Governor Road to Bowen Road (on four at present, possibly six later) elevated traffic lanes. Building this feature will disturb acid sulphate soil and affect the flow of groundwater into wetlands at Woodlands, Braeside Park, Waterways and even Edithvale wetlands. While the wetlands depend on surface water they are also fed by ground water. The Bonbeach and Edithvale rail lines are to be placed in deep trenches as part of the level crossing removal project. Construction of walls and barriers to prevent the rail lines flooding could prevent mature Banksia tree roots receiving the water they require to survive on the foreshore at Bonbeach.“ living in close proximity to the foreshore along the Frankston line, dependent on bore water for gardens, may also lose this supply if water, as at Bonbeach, is diverted to Patterson River.
Well! After all the sturm and drang over over the Pompeii Landing on the bank of the creek is seems that the current occupant will be offered a nine year lease by Council so that work can continue providing a launching ramp for small boat owners. The land is dispute is a small area of Crown Land. The Mordialloc Fishing & Boating Club will also use this site.
Two developments are being planned for Main Street – partial demolition of Mordialloc Hotel and 26 units for the car park went to mediation last month. As did the Grocery Store, a shop with goods too expensive to succeed in Main Street. This shop is to become an up-market cocktail bar. Parking, already a problem in the shopping centre was a concern for objectors.
A meeting was held at Waterways cafe 24 February to learn how migratory birds may be affected when the four lane elevated freeway was built across, not only the Waterways wetlands but also Woodlands and Braeside wetlands. According to the Parsons Brinckerhoff report to VicRoads Lathams Snipe, a migratory bird will be affected. A meeting 6th February heard speakers from RMIT, Dr Ian Woodcock and Crystal Legacy, Traffic Planners describe how freeways are consuming the suburbs, rather than building more public transport. The VicRoads team also spoke at this RAMPF meeting at Dingley as did two speakers from Environment Victoria.