Peppercorn Tree Puzzle
There was concern when it was noticed that an old pepper corn tree was being removed outside the railway station. It was thought that maybe these trees were planted when the station was opened and therefore worthy heritage survivors. Peppercorn trees can be seen around many stations and public buildings in country towns. Seven peppercorn trees remain. Banksias have been planted in the station forecourt and Centreway to link the town with the foreshore’s indigenous vegetation. A branch of one of the remaining Monterey Cypress trees on the Pompei site blew down in a recent storm. It is disappointing that so many of these trees have been removed from around Mordialloc Creek because they attracted so many artists. Peter Smale’s work, featuring two paintings of the creek and launches, is able to be seen online.
The Bay Trail is completed in this section of the Round the Bay Trail. Where the cyclists are supposed to go next seems uncertain, unless they ride under the road bridge and then through the Pompei site to reach the foot bridge over the creek to join the Long Beach Trail to Patterson River. Alternatively they could ride over the Pompei Bridge using the left side path, then through Attenborough Park, under the rail line where the rail bridge crosses the creek, along the south bank of the creek to join with the Long Beach Trail behind the Mordialloc Secondary College.
Climate Change Bill
MBCL added our signature to Zahlia Steggle’s (Fed MP) submission to Federal Parliament. This Bill was based on New Zealand and Britain’s climate change policies and supported by the Business Council of Australia, ACTU, AMA and Climate Works Australia with a total of 400,000 signatures.
Mordialloc Creek Master Plan Update
The 2004 Master Plan was last updated in September 2012. Much of the original upgrading has been completed. In this 2012 version retention of boating and fishing activity on and around the Pompei landing is emphasised. The proposed unit development on the site is not mentioned and will add to a demand for parking. The suggestion is that Attenborough Park be used for boat owner’s parking. An item of concern is the proposal to plant an avenue of Canary Island Palms around the Hazel Pierce Reserve on Beach Road. If anyone is concerned about this please start making enquiries. This was tried once before but the four palms were removed from the site!!
Protection of Westernport Bay
Victorian National Parks Association is appealing for funds for legal and scientific expertise to challenge the weakness of AGL’s claims for a floating gas import facility in the middle of protected wetlands at Crib Point .The entire Westernport Bay is a Ramsar listed wetland. The north arm of the Bay attracts 50,000 waterbirds and this is where AGL is proposing to discharge 47 kilograms of chlorine into the bay each day, if it is not stopped. Even AGL admits that this will exceed safe levels for marine life.
Oysters on the Pier
It seems the experiment to create artificial reefs around Port Phillip Bay to encourage oysters to grow for non-commercial purposes is successful. A recent report mentioned oysters are growing on Mordialloc Pier and on the existing reef to the south of the pier. Will the oysters be affected by the contamination coming out of Mordialloc Creek? Should there be a sign at the mouth of the creek warning the fishermen on the pier not eat the fish or oysters???
Hopefully more information will be provided about who is standing in each of Kingston’s eleven wards with one councillor in each ward. Voting will be postal. There are some important issues for new councillors to consider and hopefully make decisions that are not environmentally harmful. Some of these issues are listed below.
After a long campaign people were pleased with Council’s decision to buy the land for much needed open space. But it is disturbing to find that a potential councillor is querying that decision, claiming that the money should be spent elsewhere, rather than saving the remnant indigenous plants, trees and open space provided at Tarella Road.
Mordialloc Creek Community Meeting
This was a Zoom meeting which one of our members was able to view and has given us a detailed report on the issues. One of the issues is that spoil from future dredging will be deposited in the dredge spoil grounds in Port Phillip Bay when the POM does their dredging in late 2021. Another topic discussed was the wetlands. They are considered a priority by Melbourne Water but the program still lacks funds. It may start sometime in 2021. The new Mordialloc Creek Master Plan should be released in the next few weeks. More car parking is planned in Attenborough Park to cater for boat owners. However there is no launching ramp on that side of the creek and car parking will be limited on the Pompei site, if the four storey apartment block goes ahead. Two MBCL members continue to attend “virtual” VCAT meetings about the Pompei site.
Construction of new pontoons for Mordialloc Creek upstream and adding a change room facility to the George Woods Reserve are two works estimated to begin in the New Year. Groups of people will be collecting rubbish alongside the creek, as funding was provided to help people laid off work in other areas.
GOOD NEWS!! It is not often that conservationists win battles in their attempts to protect precious remnants of the environment but this month it was announced that Kingston Council bought 19 Tarella Road! It is a remnant of original bushland undeveloped despite the suburbanisation taking place around it. It will provide much needed open space for Chelsea and Edithvale suburbs which are short of an area like this for non-sporting types to enjoy.
Alex Fraser Recycling Facility
The hearing was conducted virtually which meant that submitters didn’t need to trek into Kings Street. We are now awaiting Planning Minister Wynne’s response to the need to remove this industry out of Kingston’s Green Wedge and into an industrial zone where facilities such this belong.
Pier Road Toilet Block and George Woods Reserve
The pier road toilet block is to go ahead which is unfortunate because it will dominate and block views of the approach to Mordialloc pier/ promenade area. Work is also to commence in the George Woods Reserve with extensions to the Mordialloc Scout Hall to provide a storage area for the 5th Mordialloc Sea Scouts’ boats.
Notification from Council advises of forthcoming works for the final stage of the Bay Trail from Renninson Street to the Nepean Highway. Work is expected to finish in late November. Last month electronic counters recorded 42,000 people trying out the recently completed Stage 2 Bay Trail Mentone LSC to Renninson Street.
Mordialloc Creek Contamination Report
An official warning has been issued to foreshore residents from Edithvale to Bonbeach warning them not to drink the ground water from their bores because it contains PFAS (poly-fluoroalkyl) an extremely cancerous chemical.
Toilet Block at Mordialloc Foreshore
As part of “improvements” to local parks Council intends to install “new, accessible toilet facilities” at Mordialloc foreshore near the pier and promenade. The design of this large, brick industrial looking building is out of character and will dominate the area.
Mordialloc Creek Contamination Report
Prior to beginning dredging of the creek a comprehensive report of water quality was carried out. Metal contamination was recorded at all seven sites and exceeded screening levels for at least one contaminant (zinc). The other contaminants were cadmium, copper, lead, silver, mercury, arsenic and chromium depending on the site. There was no testing for PFAS but the report indicated that it was planned to check for that dangerous chemical at a later date.
Bay Trail Rennison Street to Mordialloc Creek
Tenders have gone out for this section of the trail due to commence September or October 2020.
Tree Planting Plan
Quarterly Report from Kingston Council outlines a proposed Street Tree Planting Plan. Council has worked with a consultant in the development of the plan which will provide a consistent approach to strategically prioritise tree planting and replacement based on a key criteria. This will include tree population, heat islands, population density, current tree cover and location in relation to remnant vegetation/habitat areas.
Kingston Housing Strategy & Neighbourhood Character Strategy
Kingston Housing Strategy & Neighbourhood Character Strategy will involve higher density housing meaning loss of trees and gardens. This appears to conflict with Creating a Cool Kingston- Urban Cooling Strategy which stresses the importance of trees in developments to reduce the heat island effect. The higher density housing strategy will also impinge on the Mordialloc Heritage Overlay. A submission has been presented to Council requesting that heritage housing in Ormond Street and surrounding streets be considered for an extended heritage overlay.
Governor Road Car Park and Pontoons
Better Boating, a State Government project will see the upgrade of the Governor Road boat pontoons in Mordialloc Creek as well as a pontoon south of the highway bridge for disability access.
There may also be a one metre boundary increase around the car park in Governor Road.
Toilet Pier Road, Mordialloc
This tall, silo shaped building will dominate the Art Deco lamps along the promenade and Art Deco buildings on the Peter Scullin Reserve. Request for information from council resulted in a noncommittal response.
Future of Braeside Park Survey
Changes to the management of Braeside Park would mean that activities such as group camping , markets, festivals, cafes and dogs would be permitted all of which would harm the environmental and cultural values of the park. This matter is referred to in the March issue of Park Watch (p32) which states “There are few places left in Melbourne where you could see a turtle lay her eggs, an echidna forage for ants or a Black-Shouldered Kite take a mouse…..Braeside Metropolitan Park is a rare gem where all this is possible on an evening stroll….. Braeside boasts important wetlands, heath lands and red gum woodland…Despite this Parks Victoria has foreshadowed a precinct plan canvassing views on permitting dogs, holding public events, activities squarely aimed at boosting human traffic. … Braeside is already under intense pressure from the Mordialloc Bypass under construction on its western boundary.” MBCL sent a submission objecting to Parks Vic’s proposals.
Toilet Pier Road, Mordialloc
A large industrial looking toilet will be built near the Pier. The building will dominate this site. There has been no attempt to blend with the existing early 1920 functional building stock as required when planning for foreshore buildings according to the official documentation used in this case.
Governor Road Car Park and Pontoons
Better Boating is planning to construct a pontoon in the creek opposite the Mordialloc Motor Yacht Club for use by the disabled, and extend existing pontoons at the Governor Road boat ramp. The ramps will be of concrete construction. There will be a metre wide extension of the car park along Governor Road. Any trees removed will be replaced following discussion with the NRA staff.
Comment made that people want action on climate change so a letter to be sent to a local paper in support of action being taken by Government. This was done.
Dent’s Paddock Development
A VCAT Hearing in May.Issues arising are the proposed location of offsets after removal of vegetation on the site. a request that some of the $7 million offered by Government for the purchase of open space be spent on purchasing this site. There is a shortage of open space in Chelsea and Edithvale.
Road the Bay Trail
A careful watch on work being undertaken along Beach Road by a MBCL member reports that construction appears to be progressing according to the plans approved by Council. While Kingston Council’s plan for the trail from Mordialloc Creek to Carrum proposes to use the Long Beach Trail, LXRA plans to build a bike trail along the Station Street side of the rail line. This will mean removing all existing Banksia Woodland along the rail line. This route is not necessary because there is an existing bike track along the opposite side of Station Street.
Braeside Park Survey
Activities being suggested in this survey include festivals, food outlets, camping, dogs, etc. Such activities would require lighting, increased parking space and noise thus creating disturbance for the flora and fauna which is a feature of Braeside Park.
It is disappointing to find that the Level Crossing Removal people have offered to complete the Kingston Section of the Bay Trail by routing the bike path along Station Street alongside the rail line instead of along the Long Beach Trail. The reason is said to be Government’s intention to encourage cyclists to use public transport. This will require parking for bikes as well as cars in the limited space available along narrow two lane Station Street
Parks Victoria is conducting a survey into future uses and activities in Braeside Park. Some of the uses suggested are possibly allowing dogs in the park. permitting group camping, commercial activities, shops and cafes, markets, festivals perhaps with amplified music, night lighting, a commercial hub and extra car parking to cater for these activities if approved. Most areas of public land restrict certain activities in some way. For example Churchill National Park rules are:- camping, dogs, horses and trail bikes are not permitted. Cyclists can use all tracks except those for walkers only. It should remembered that the Sandbelt Open Space Project, May 1994, was formed to accommodate high impact noisy activities such as war games, trail bikes and games played on sporting fields.
PFAS in Dunlops Drain
PFAS was found in the West Gate Tunnel.Work stopped because of the danger to worker’s health.PFAS is being linked to risks of cancer and liver damage. There is also a problem with the disposal of contaminated spoil. The Mordialloc Creek Meeting is not until March. We haven’t heard from the EPA about the PFAS found in Dunlop’s Drain during the Mordialloc Freeway work. A letter was sent to the EPA October 2019.