A successful day despite steamy conditions. Sincere thanks to members who helped in setting up, collecting signatures for the petition and staffing the MBCL stall. A letter of appreciation has been sent to the Melbourne Water Community Liaison staff thanking them for the donation of material distributed from the MBCL stall.
Nina Earl, Brain Earl, Barry Ross and Robert Pyne attended a meeting where a sub-committee of AGRA was formed with Ken Carney as president to discuss plans for this land. Nina has volunteered to undertake historical research of the land. Water in the ‘lake’ is saline and will require testing to ensure that the surrounds are suitable for indigenous species. A compromise may be necessary to accommodate off-leash dog people and environ- mental concerns. The land covers approx. 20 acres = 8.5 hectares.
Volunteer Pre-Christmas barbecue
MBCL members were amongst those who attended a pre-Christmas barbecue at at Excell’s Bonbeach Depot. Photopoint monitoring images are now on CD on the Excell computer. A third round of monitoring the Creek and Foreshore
Natural Bush areas is due to commence this month. Letters have been received from both the EPA and Melbourne Water informing us that both parties are considering replacing the warning sign on Melbourne Water’s stormwater drain at Mentone.
Penny has joined the Beachwatch team and is able to provide valuable information about water quality and protection of foreshore vegetation. The team was instrumental in alerting the authorities to a sewage leak at Mentone Beach last month. The beach was closed for 4 days.
MBCL and KCEC were invited to a presentation to Kingston Councillors by Golders and Melbourne Water in mid-January concerning the use of ETP biosolids as fill for the large water- filled borrow pit on Woodlands Industrial Estate. The Councillors have not approved the proposal which will now go to VCAT.
Urgent! Urgent! Urgent!
Submissions to Kingston’s Residential Strategy close November 21. The Planners claim that they have only received six submissions. Let them know what you think of dwellings in Kingston where the only private open space will be on the roof top or on a balcony. Bayside residents have successfully persuaded their Council to agree to 1:400sq metres throughout the municipality. Despite loss of trees and gardens there is no provision for public open space to compensate in Kingston. Miles Lewis says that ‘densification is attacking the liveability of Melbourne and assaulting some of the values held most dear. Residents have rights?
We begin the next round of monitoring in November. A recent inspection of the foreshore indicated that vegetation is responding well to the recent rain. With the demolition of so many of the houses, gardens and trees along Beach Road, the foreshore vegetation is especially important to buffer the built area from the foreshore.
Chiquita Park is approx. 5 hectares and contains a stand of Cherry Ballart trees. The Defence. Dept is offering it for sale at $1 million. Braeside Park The nursery is progressing. The sewage work is almost finished. A bus tour of the Park is planned. Cr van Klaveren has been invited.Cattle grazing which has been used to keep grass in check is ceasing after 20 years. Mowing is taking its place and indigenous Chocolate Lillies, Milk Maid and red gums are appearing. The Grange An Open Day is planned. Precious Sun Orchids died after some not so gentle weeding around them! A proposal to build a road around Namatjira Park has not been well received. Also opposed by residents is Kingston Council’s plan to “re-develop” Westall Station as part of the Residential Strategy. Keely Park, donated to the community is affected. Bradshaw Park Extra painted(decorative?) fence panels are to be created by Parkdale Secondary College students. Discussion as to whether the park needs a distinctive gate to advertise its existence and perhaps a name change to Indigenous Plant Reserve.
Excell will gather seeds and eventually take control of the remaining 4 hectares of Herb-rich Grassy Wetland left on the site. Orchids rescued from Epsom are growing well in Braeside nursery.
Outgoing:- Stratcorp. comments on Draft Leisure report, Dandenong Planning Scheme Amendments C2 & C5, Planning Panel re Merri Creek Freeway proposals, Prime Minister re GM food copies to Senator Hill& Kim Beazley, Local Paper re Kingston’s Interim Residential Design Guide.
Water The photos taken in August are being developed as a record of growth in the revegetated areas of the foreshore and creek reserves. The next photo session will take place in November. Nina queried who was responsible for maintaining the south bank of Mordialloc creek up to Wells Road. Weed infestation is significant. Nina also queried when the moon-scaped ‘wetland’ near Brown’s Reserve would be enhanced possibly with landscaping.
MBCL President and secretary were taken on an extensive tour of the Dandenong Creek Catchment during August. The Liverpool flood basin, Jells Park and the Police Paddocks were amongst areas inspected. This gave an insight into the need for pollution control in the upper catchment and also into the need for extensive flood retarding basins due to accelerating residential development in flood prone areas.
Letters sent to:- SAP re E coli levels at St Kilda, Alpine Parks Submission to MPs Perton & Birrell & Independent MPs, Team Leader Parks re grass mowing at Mentone, Kingston CEO re the bio-solids fill for Lake 1 Woodlands.
Donation of Information
G. Agnew donated ocean water quality documents to MBCL. Expressed concern at some councils’ street tree planting programs. Deciduous trees create a problem with the litter entering drains. Reports that high E coli levels at St Kilda may be due to compaction of the Grand Prix track at Albert Park cracking sewage mains.
Terry Lane in the Age, June 4th, claimed that pressure groups like SAP (and possibly Krammed and MBCL) are regarded as ‘pests’ because they are persistent in pursuing their cause. MBCL, in our 32nd year of causing irritation, is happy to be numbered amongst the ‘pests’ especially as the ‘pests’ according to Terry, “in the long run are usually proved right!”
Members may be wondering at the change in logos at the top of the page. We have been advised that MBCL is eligible for a Melbourne Water grant to assist with the publication of this newsletter. We are, of course, delighted. Thank you, Melbourne Water!
Four members have volunteered to take part in a monitoring program of the Natural Bush Areas along the creek and foreshore. This will involve photographing selected sites on a three monthly basis to check on re-growth and revegetation in these areas. During May, sites were selected by Tony Collins Team Leader Excel, and volunteers, Nina, Brian, Penny and Mary.
The selection process was in itself informative. For example, great work is being done on the north bank of Mordialloc creek with weed removal and planting of species indigenous to the area, however there is still the problem with the south bank of the creek, formerly under the control of Chelsea Council but now the responsibility of Melbourne Water. Maintenance and weed removal is urgently required to prevent weed infestation recurring on the opposite bank.
While foreshore vegetation and planting programs are creating a haven for birds and a buffer between the built area and beach, a major problem continues to be the destruction of foreshore vegetation by residents who want to ‘improve’ their view. Two incidents occurred recently when banksias and tea-tree were bull-dozed from the foreshore at Chelsea and Carrum.
Progress in suburban council’s storm water management strategy’s was the topic for discussion at the Dandenong CIC meeting held at Kingston in May. Kingston Council’s Environment Officer, Doug Evans, presented a report stressing that the quality, rather than the quantity, of storm water was the main aim of the management plan.
Cr van Klaveren gave a comprehensive report on current issues of local concern:-
- JvK attended the PPCC AGM at which the Hon. Victor Perton was guest speaker.
- Decisions have to be made about saving the historic house, Mayfield, and the impressive stand of European trees
- The Kingston Residential Strategy is still being considered by Council. The State Government has nominated setbacks and overshadowing as issues to be addressed. Members claim that density is still a major issue as is the retention of trees.
- JvK attended a VCAT hearing with residents concerned about a sub-standard unit development which had been approved by ‘delegation’
- Mordialloc Activity Node, now known as the Mordialloc Precinct, will be the subject of a study when tenders are decided. Councillors Petchey and van Klaveren are on the Steering Committee. Environment members must also be included in this important study.
- JvK and Councillor Normington inspected the Mirvac development site at Kingston Centre where 450-500 houses are to be built.
At the April meeting Cr Johanna van Klaveren resigned as President of MBCL but remains a member and will attend meetings whenever possible given her busy schedule. We are grateful to Johanna for the work she accomplished during her time as President. The members extended congratulations to Johanna on her decisive win and wished her every success over the next three years.
Victorian Local Governance Association Report
Average Ratio of Councillors to Population. Victoria 1:7900. One councillor to 7900 people, the highest of all six Australian States. NSW has double the number of councils 177, to Victoria’s 78. NSW 1:3470 people.
Mara to write to Kingston Council re the percentage of street blocks that can be taken up with units (not more than one quarter) and to have no two storey units unless they fit in with existing streetscape.
A phone call from a Mentone resident advises that mature trees (100 years old) may be destroyed as the result of permit approval for unit development on a block on the corner of Como Parade and Dixon Street. Suggested that MBCL adopt an advisory role for residents rather than lodge objections ourselves. Best to encourage residents to become activists.
Kay reports that vegetation is reappearing after a burn at Bradshaw Park. Penny advises that a successful burn was carried out at The Grange. A committee meeting with Braeside Park Friends and Parks Victoria legal staff recommended that conservation objectives for the next 5, 10, 20 years be adopted. A second grant of $6000 for salinity reduction has been received. $33,000 has been received and plans are being considered for a Federation Trail. A cattle rotation grazing program operates to control pasture/weed growth. Kingston Council engineers and Park Rangers gave permission for a “lake” to be dug right on the perimeter of Braeside Park and the Southern Golf Course. The Golf Club was given free use of earth moving equipment in return for the fill for a nearby development! No EIS was required. There are fears that pumps on site will drain the Park’s heathland and there is already evidence that this is so. Letters have been sent rom MBCL to Mark Stone and Sheryl Garbutt requesting information. A bat night attracted 50 people. A very worthwhile butterfly monitoring project is being considered for the Park. Contact Rona Pearson on 9584 7443 for further information.
Australia Day 2000
MBCL was allocated a shared tent again this year and we are grateful to our Treasurer for securing a prominent position for both MBCL and CRAG. Special thanks to Johanna for collecting give-a-ways generously donated by Melbourne Water, to Mara for Transport and assisting with information and to Penny, Brian and Nina.
Green Wedge Panel Hearing C2 and C5
Both Brian, representing KCEC and Dingley Village and Johanna, for MBCL, presented submissions at the Panel Hearing into proposed development in the green wedge. The Hearing ran for six days. Kingston Council’s approval of the Kingston Lodge development set a precedent for alienation of non-urban land in the City of Greater Dandenong.1400 houses could be built east of Springvale Road.
Tony Collins (Excel)
Tony attended briefly to inform us of the progress of plans for establishing monitoring points for quarterly recording of plant growth in the Natural Bush Areas.
We were delighted to have Penny McGuire-White join MBCL after moving to Mentone in 1999. Penny is still actively involved with The Grange as well as many other interests. We are indebted to our President, Johanna van Klaveren, for the enormous time and effort which has gone into producing a Web site for MBCL. (see the call sign at the top of the page).
On Monday 31-1-2000 Johanna and Brian will be presenting their submissions at the Panel Hearing for Planning Amendments to Non-Urban Land in the Keysborough Green Wedge. The Hearings are open to the public. Support from members of KCEC and MBCL would be welcome! The Hearing is at Springvale Council Chambers.
After a busy 1999 with many important planning issues to mull over, 2000 got off to an equally busy month. The defeat of the Kennett Government was an unexpected boost to greenies hopes for less destructive environmental planning decisions. We are monitoring the Labor Governments decisions.
With Council elections due in March it is an opportunity to seek out candidates with sound environmental credentials. Do you know of any person willing to stand?
Tony Collins (Excel)
Tony reported that two new groups of volunteers have been formed making a total of 16 groups. Some MBCL members indicated that they would be interested in monitoring Natural Bush Areas from Mentone Foreshore to Mordialloc Creek and along Mordialloc creek This would involve taking photos and reporting to Council quarterly on weed cover and plant growth. Times, areas, photo points and cameras will be organised by Tony who will report at our February meeting.
Chiquita Park is owned by the Defence Department who plans to sell the park for $2 million Kingston Council has been given first option. The park has a stand of Cherry Ballart trees worthy of protection. Bradshaw Park was a finalist for the Heritage category in the City Pride Awards. The Open Day was successful. Nina and Brian took MBCL’s Epsom display board to the Park and collected more signatures for the protection of the Herb Rich Grassy Wetlands at Epsom former Training facility. The Grange received a grant of $44,000 for feral fences, educational information, booklets and brochures. A rare orchid was found after a ‘burn’ in the park.
Braeside Park is waiting for a promised Federal Grant of $35,000. Improvements to the sewage system mains along Chute Street and Governor Road will mean the installation of a small pumping station in Braeside Park. Ron’s article in the Friends of Braeside Park newsletter also appears on the Friends Webb page. This caused a stir amongst Park’s management who wanted the article removed from the site. The Friends members believed that communities should be able to demonstrate their democratic rights – with one dissenting member. The article which commented on the shortage of staff to manage the park satisfactorily was sent to the Minister for Conservation. MBCL suggested that Parks management are free to put a response to Ron’s article on their web site!
An information session introducing plans for the Kingston Lodge residential and wetland development will be held at Mentone Council Offices, Mentone at 4.30pm Monday 29th November. Council will accept comments from groups and individuals concerning this controversial development. Stephen Hains will be present.
Significant Tree Register
Could members bring along their comments and ideas for a Significant Tree Register currently being considered by Council Environment Officers? It is hoped that this Register, coupled with a By-Law, may prevent the wanton destruction of mature trees on development blocks.
Water testing at Braeside Park involves two Friends volunteers one day once a month to test five sites. A draft report on tests prepared by a volunteer is being published. Kingston Council is reported to be using a school to monitor water quality in Mordialloc Creek. When queried a council officer was uncertain of Melbourne Waters monitoring sites which are at Wells Road bridge and Pillars Crossing only. Glen Agnew is monitoring Dunlops Drain, Lake 3, Woodlands Industrial Estate and Mordialloc Creek with his own equipment. It was decided to write to Kingston CEO and Melbourne Water asking what is being done to monitor the Creek, mosquito larvae and algae blooms in Lake 3. The cost of chemicals for monitoring is $600 per year.
Open Day at Braeside Park was successful with 34 people attending a Heathland walk with Ron. Friends of Karkarook Park now has 6 members and automatic opening and closing gates with a people counter attached. Rangers are required to spend twenty minutes each day counting the golf balls which lob in the Park from the adjoining golf range! Our taxes at work! There were 1600 applicants for 12 positions with Parks Victoria.
Residential Strategy Workshops
J.Eggleston and F Rimington attended the Workshop, October 13th, at Moorabbin Council Offices. Neighbourhood Agreements and Covenants places the burden of protecting residential amenity on residents. The process is time consuming and difficult to achieve in streets with 30 plus houses.
Braeside Park rangers have been reduced to three. There were formerly eight rangers. Rangers now work seven days a week and in summer, from 7am to 8.30pm. An article recording these facts in the Friends of Braeside Park newsletter was picked up by the local paper and resulted in the Friends being asked to attend a meeting with the upper echelons of Parks management to ‘please explain’. The Parks persons angst may be premature given that the ALP policy on OUR NATURAL ASSETS states that Labor will “Properly resource and expand the role of park rangers”. and “Defining the role of park rangers as including environmental management and the provision of education and interpretive services.”
Tony Collins, Team Leader Natural Resources for Excel has 14 natural resource areas to anage. He explained his plans for giving advice and assistance to Friends Groups in Kingston. He will attend MBCL meetings on a bi-monthly basis to answer questions and meet on site when necessary. MBCL’s role may be mainly monitoring the Creek and foreshore natural vegetation areas. Will query status of Attenborough Park /responsibility for South bank of the creek?