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.
Committee of Management Mordialloc Creek
W. Grahame reported on this meeting which was held at the Mordialloc Motor Yacht Club. Melbourne Water, Kingston Council Officers. DEWLP. Boating and Fishing Club Members were in attendance. Issues raised were moorings. Sea Scouts lack of boat launching facilities.
Heritage Listing of Pompei Site and Mordialloc Creek Environs
Discussion about Heritage listing for not just the Pompei site and large boat building shed but also the creek environs from the mouth to the railway bridge has been postponed until February 2019. A local heritage consultant thought the whole area was worthy of this listing because of its long fishing and boat building history. While the big shed could become a boat building museum this seems unlikely to happen.
P.MacGuire-White reported on drainage run-off from sports ground hard surfaces outside the Grange boundary effecting the vegetation within the Grange.
Reports of a victory at VCAT with a large Coptic Church being refused. The planning permit sought was not only for the Church, with a tall tower and dome, but stables for horses, sports grounds, etc. The refusal was based on the fact that the church would be more useful in an urban setting rather than on a 40 hectare block of land planned to encourage small size farming activity according to Green Wedge policy documents. With Planning Minister Wynne’s victory in Saturday’s election the Green Wedge may become even more secure!
Mordialloc Bypass EES
Submissions are due 14th December. The construction of this six lane freeway may well have implications for water in Mordialloc creek, Woodlands, Braeside Park and Waterways wetlands. The freeway will be constructed with a landfill embankment and an elevated six lane freeway over roads and Waterway’s Wetlands. The freeway will be divided into two elevated bridges each with three traffic lanes. VicRoads claims that the separated elevated bridges over Waterways wetland will be “less noticeable with trees planted to grow up between them”! The EES document mentions that this freeway could convey freight and containers from Hastings to the docks. Construction of the landfill embankment will disturb acid sulphate soil and may pollute groundwater flowing towards and into the creek.
VCAT Hearing for Regent’s Park
The Jack Cuthbertson Memorial Garden is going to be removed to make way for two netball courts despite the fact that the Mordialloc Secondary College nearby will soon have three extra netball courts provided by the Government making five courts in all. There will be a loss of mature trees including original Banksias in the Memorial Garden in Regent’s Park. Four speakers presented arguments for retention of the Memorial Garden at VCAT to no avail. VCAT Chairperson has given approval for destruction to go ahead.
Pocket Parks for marginal seats was offered by the Labor Government prior to the election. However City of Kingston missed out on this offer although the loss of the Jack Cuthbertson Memorial Garden, and probably Tarella Road’s established remnant bushland, will reduce small parks/open space available in Edithvale/Chelsea suburbs lacking in this feature for residents who prefer passive recreation rather active sport.
Edithvale/Bonbeach Level Crossing Removal
There appears to still be some uncertainty about how effective the trench for the train line will be in dealing with drainage expected to find its way via a pipe into the Bay especially at times of high rainfall and high tides. Presenters to VCAT are yet to hear the outcome of the Hearing although a report did appear in the Planning Institute magazine, Vol 44, No9, October 2018. It stated that “out of the many State Government level crossing removals the Edithvale Bonbeach projects, which proposed trenching of the railway line, has been the most challenging from an environmental perspective. Following the VCAT Hearing it has been recommended that “changes include requirements for more extensive monitoring and mitigation plans for Edithvale and Wannarkladden Wetlands and the Bonbeach and Edithvale foreshore vegetation.”
Port Phillip Conservation Council
Reports that coastguards, whose boat is currently berthed at Patterson River, have received approval to have a three storey building, boat harbour and lengthy pier stretching out into Port Phillip Bay, constructed at the foot of Oliver’s Hill in Frankston. Because this section of the Bay is so shallow it will have to be constantly dredged. There is some querv about the need for this development because, in the case of an emergency in the Bay, a helicopter can deal with the problem more quickly than the coastguard boat which takes forty minutes to arrive from Patterson River.
End of Year
Well folks it has been a very busy year with members preparing and presenting submissions at three or more VCAT Hearings. And it hasn’t ended yet. EES submissions about impacts of the Mordialloc Freeway are due 14th December and local Heritage listing of the Pompei site is proposed to be discussed in February 2019. At least with the State Election ending with a pleasing outcome there might be a chance of more favourable Hearings at VCAT occasionally!
Merry Christmas to all!
Mordialloc Beaumaris Conservation League Inc.
Letter sent to the Queensland Premier regarding Adani’s prolifigate use of water from the Great Artesian Basin. As yet no response. However we now learn that Origin Energy has been given approval by the Northern Territory Government to commence fracking on Aboriginal land without seeking this communitie’s approval. The Chairman of Origin Energy concedes that the company cannot guarantee that fracking won’t destroy water aquifers in the Northern Territory.
86 Albert Street Mordialloc
Concern that this development, being close to a school, may be dangerous for students as a result of road widening.
Committee of Management for Mordialloc Creek
A meeting of the COM was attended by MBCL reps, DEWLP, Melbourne Water and Kingston Council officers, small boat owners and Pompei representatives. Boat moorings, dredging the mouth of the creek and around the island were on the agenda. Since the Pompei site has been sold the future of the big boat building shed is under discussion as a possible local heritage listed site. However a consultant has stated that the creek, from the mouth to the rail bridge at least, is worthy of nomination for heritage listing due to Aboriginal, and later European association with the creek as a gateway to the Mornington Peninsula and commencement of fishing and boat building industries.
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.