Conferences, Workshops, Seminars, Panel Hearings!
It’s been a busy month for members who have attended some of the above. MBCL presented a paper outlining the problem associated with disposing toxic sewage sludge in the Woodlands borrow pit to the Panel chaired by Terry Laidler at Dandenong North. The Panel was hearing submissions concerning Melbourne Water’s request to dispose of waste water to Boags Rock for the next 50 years. MBCL was present at Trades Hall to hear speakers denouncing the Federal Government’s draconian Anti-Terrorism Legislation which could affect environment groups protesting over e.g logging. We were represented at a UAW meeting where the same issue was explained by a Civil Liberties lawyer. The Victorian Coastal Conference-A Sustainable Coast had notable speakers such as Barry Jones who warned of the impact of increased population on the Port Phillip Bay coast line. His warning about the effect of climate change was echoed by Dr Graeme Pearman, CSIRO Scientist, who also stressed that the impact on beaches from storm surges will be dramatic. Five MBCL members attended an excellent Coastal Dune Management Workshop at the Keith Turnbull Research Institute & were shown slides of the impact of poor beach management in NSW where dunes have been eroded and houses collapsing into the sea as a result of loss of sand protection. Wind tunnels created by people trampling over dunes caused sand to move 2 metres a year from the degraded dune system settling in the roofs of houses. 3000 structures are likely to disappear into the sea in NSW.
Re-vegetation of the dunes and coastal areas is the answer according to the speaker.
Tony gave a report of Excell’s excellent Clean Up Australia campaign on the NRA’s creek and foreshore. 380 people collected 90 bags of litter. School and Friends Groups were involved as well as Telstra workers who cleaned up around Windows at Mordialloc. Excell’s contract has been dissolved with work tendered out, however NRA staff will be increased from 6 to 8 members and will be financially better resourced. Excell staff are working with Mentone Grammar School students to remove blackberries from the Mentone foreshore. State funding has been received to plant some sections of the Aspendale/Edithvale foreshore. Excell met with the Environment and By-Laws Officers at a site opposite San Antonio Court, Mentone where six She-oaks have been drilled and poisoned. Tony was thanked for his attendance and appreciation expressed for his team’s excellent work in the NRA areas and with community groups.
Mordialloc Structure Plan
Submissions close 31 May. It is important to fill in the pro-forma (despite expiry date) and send in a submission especially if three & four storeys are considered inappropriate in the study area. Or if alienation of public open space for cafes around the creek and foreshore cannot be justified in view of the fact that there 21 caffs in the Main Street! Many thanks to KRAMMED for advice and assistance in this matter.
Playground Development Strategy
Parks are under threat from all quarters. Small parks are targeted for sale and larger parks will be upgraded, however in areas of high density multi-unit development it is essential that small parks are retained to compensate for the loss of private open space. Elderly people, disabled and families with small children require a park within 150 metres safe walking distance according to VicCode I. Under ResCode, Council is not required to provide parks to compensate for the loss of private space as a result of development.
There have been problems with the feral fence at The Grange. Cats have been able to climb over it. Council have planted 20 Banksias in Watkins Reserve, Aspendale. Mark Dreyfuss QC gave a legal opinion that Chicquita Park could be retained as public open space if Council would support the Friends group. This has not happened unfortunately. Plans for a nursing home have collapsed and the community is faced with a gated development of 81 two-storey town houses and significant vegetation will be lost.
Owners of bathing boxes are resisting requests to abide by DNRE Guidelines for Boatsheds and Bathing Boxes on Coastal Crown Land Around Port Phillip Bay. Under the Coastal Management Act 1995 (CMA) all use or development on coastal Crown land requires the written consent of the Minister for Environment & Conservation. Bathing box owners in the City of Kingston (190) have added extensions and decks which will be removed if built prior to Oct 2000 when transferred to another person. These extensions were added without written consent in most cases.
The Agnew Report
Glen was invited to speak to the Field Naturalists Society about loss of sea grass in Beaumaris Bay and related issues. Sea grass is affected when a mussel farm is sited above blotting out sunlight. Richard McLoughlin spoke at the recent VCC Conference on a Sustainable Coast. There are 566has of mussel farms in Port Phillip Bay, and aquaculture is supported by both political parties. McLoughlin, Director Fisheries Victoria DNRE, was unable to satisfactorily answer G. Goode’s query about the environmental impact of mussel and fish farming in Port Phillip Bay. The environmental impact will be severe and land based aquaculture is preferred wherever possible with water being recycled for re-use.
Watch for an Environment Assessment Review : Issues and Options 2002.
The ACIF (Australian Communications Industry Forum) has adopted a precautionary approach to the siting and design of telecommunication towers. Copies are available on a website or by ringing (02) 9959 9111.
Defenders of Green Wedge have had a victory! Burdett’s quarry development was over- turned at a Panel Hearing. Well done, Barry and Co!