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.
MBCL member NE organised a well attended meeting at the little café at Waterways. We discussed the protection of bird and animal life during and after the construction of the four lane freeway as they attempt to cross from the Woodlands wetlands to the Braeside or Waterways wetlands as is their custom. The Victorian National Park’s, Park Watch magazine, March 2018, has an article dealing with just this question. The author has been surveying Eastern Yellow Robins in fragmented forest on public land across the urban sprawl “from Braeside Park to Kinglake National Park.” The birds living space is getting smaller and sometimes they are imprisoned in their patch unable to leave home to find mate leading to detrimental inbreeding. Thus urbanisation is causing extreme fragmentation of suitable Yellow Robin habitat. The final word of warning is “For the sake of these and similar species make sure we protect the trees in our urban landscape, and look after the forest and woodland reserves across Melbourne with special care for the river corridors.”
Dent’s Reserve / Groves Reserve
Two valuable pieces of open space are safe at present. Dent’s Reserve has been granted twelve month’s protection of the existing vegetation, and a decision has been made not to build a new SES facility on Groves Reserve behind the existing Scope building. This is a delightful little secret parkland between the rail line and Nepean Highway. Well worth a visit.
Vacant Commercial Properties
Cr West proposed in Council that owners of long term vacant commercial properties could be served double council rates. This may not go ahead although it has also been suggested as a means of making empty housing in suburbs available where people are seeking accommodation. Of continuing concern in Mordialloc Main Street is the number of café’s applying for liquor licences. While a number of Councils in the South Eastern suburbs have joined together to monitor and hopefully reduce problems with liquor outlets in suburban shopping strips, Kingston Council has decided not to join this group even though an earlier study carried out by Council found that any increase in these outlets could and does lead to violence and homelessness.
At last it has rained and given parched gardens a drink!