Environment Defenders Office
Project Worker, Verity McLucas has sent a flyer outlining workshops about Native Vegetation Law and Policy. The workshops aim to clarify net gain, clauses 52.17, overlays, the Native Vegetaion Framework, conservation and endangered species laws. The workshop includes a comprehensive set of written materials and resources. A time and place can be nominated by our group. There is a nominal charge to cover costs.
Linton Street Park Sell Off
MBCL presented a brief statement in support of retention of open space and parkland at the mediation meeting at the Fufitsu building 19th October. The Mayor and Cr Alabaster were in attendance with facilitator Robin Saunders whose report will be released later.
Further discussion of roof deck policy in particular noise and danger from unattached items being blown or falling from the roof decks.
Completion of the revegetation program for the north bank of the creek. The program was funded by money from an EPA fine of Nylex for pollution offences This has been a very successful project with trees and understorey flourishing.BBQ well attended by politicians, councillors, Nylex, EPA, Rangers and Friends of Mordialloc Creek
Linton Street Park Sell Off
Sale of Council owned land on the corner of South Road and Linton Street, Moorabbin to St Kilda Football Club for a new poker machine venue. SFC hopes to attract more customers to the poker machine facility however Kingston and Glen Eira Councils previously objected to an increase in poker machines in the hotel, corner of Nepean Highway and South Road. If you wish to support the Friends Group seeking to save their parkland you may care to fill in the Notice of Objection enclosed.
Saturday October 14. Planting and Open Day 9.30am-4pm at The Grange. Tree planting, guided tours and sausage sizzle organised by Friends of the Grange and Heathland Reserve. Friends of Edithvale Seaford Wetlands AGM October 8th 2pm at Duck Inn. Greg Bain from Melbourne Water Guest Speaker. Port Phillip Conservation Council AGM October MBCL has two delegates eligible to attend- Stephen and Mara. KRAMMED’s AGM October 25 at 7.30pm at Rennison Street, Mordialloc.
Submissions have been sent to Kingston Council Kingston’s Draft Biodiversity Policy, and Draft Boatshed and Bathing Box Policy. Letter sent to the Minister for Transport asking him to consider the narrowing of Beach Road lanes to accommodate the bike track there rather than intruding into the foreshore.
Local Member, Janice Munt posted out 5000 letters in her electorate in a survey to check community opinion about the location of the bike trail. There was a surprising response with 70% approving the verge of Beach Road option!
Revegetation work on the north bank of the creek has been completed and was celebrated with a sausage sizzle at the Jack Grut Reserve. The work was funded as a result of the EPA requiring a polluting industry to pay for revegetation work. Melbourne Water’s Corridors of Green and Landcare Victoria were involved in the program. There is now a veritable forest on the creek bank!
Happy New Year to All
Perhaps over the holiday period we may have had time to revitalise ourselves ready to face environmental challenges lying in wait for us in 2006! Locally challenges include the proposed bike path on the foreshore, Mordialloc Structure Plan, the widening of Mordialloc Creek bridge and Council’s controversial policy of managing fore- shore vegetation and open space. Councillors could be encouraged to focus more widely on questions of climate change and how it affects the community.
Congratulations to Judy and Pam who won their VCAT Appeal over a two storey development at the rear of a property which would have over-looked both Judy and Pam’s homes and yards. Kingstons policy states that “two storey developments at the rear of the development should be discouraged.” Government regs don’t allow Councils to use the word “must” in planning policy. Congratulations also to Barry Ross and Brian P. who won the VCAT Appeal objecting to a proposed caravan park in the green wedge. In fact the site was to be occupied by dozens of mobile homes to become de facto cheap housing. Acting on behalf of the Defenders of the South East Green Wedge the lads won their VCAT Appeal. Well done all!
Mordialloc Creek Bridge
Nina and Mara have written letters expressing concern at the impact a widened bridge and highway will have on Attenborough Park. Judy asked at, the MVC for copies of the bridge plans. In response to Mary’s query about plans for the bridge Jonathon Guttman stated that he hadn’t seen the VicRoads plans yet but Council has been pressing to have pedestrian bridges on both sides of the bridge to provide safe access for hundreds of Mordialloc College students attending the school. VicRoads has acquisition overlays on part of Attenborough Park but Jonathan doesn’t think VicRoads will require all of the land under acquisition.
Peter Scullin Reserve Landscape Plan
Plans will be released for public comment at the January Council meeting. Plans will need careful scrutiny to ensure vegetation is not removed without plans for replacement.
Foreshore Reference Group and Kingston Environment Network Group committee management and control still cause concern. The possible “stacking” of the FRG or potential downgrading of the KENG reveal a lack of commitment to established environment groups who can, with years of experience and qualifications, contribute ideas to Council re management of climate change, biodiversity, water quality and open space retention. A climate of fear or resentment appears to prevail amongst some councillors certainly not all.
Native Vegetation Guidelines Framework
MBCL presented a submission to the Panel Hearing outlining the impact of residential development on significant indigenous vegetation in the urban areas of Kingston, e.g. Epsom and Chicquita Park. Minister Thwaites promptly agreed to the “simplification” of the guidelines and simultaneously DSE announced major staff cuts from the environment department .61 positions will be axed from the land steward- ship and biodiversity group limiting still further monitoring and protection of native vegetation.
Public Meeting Nov 7th. 7pm at the Peninsula Community Theatre. Mornington Topic: Forests & Free Speech. Planning for our Future Saturday 12 November 10am-5pm at RMIT Melbourne Campus. Organised by Save Our Suburbs, RMIT, VLGA and Planning Institute. of Australia. Phone 9 347 2233 for bookings. Watch for Friends of Kingston “Meet the Candidate” at the Alan McLean Hall, Mordialloc. Your chance to quiz the incoming Council hopefuls.
Guest Speaker – Jason Stewart
Jason Stewart was our Guest Speaker at October meeting. Jason has returned to Victoria after working for some years in NSW. He hopes to spend more time on his organic farm and energy efficient house at Cann River near the Errinundra Plateau. The 11ha Herb Rich Grassy Wetland on the Epsom training track was partially saved thanks to Jason alerting Council officers of its existence. The Urban Land Corporation somewhat reluctantly agreed to retain 4ha as a significant site to be managed by Kingston Council’s NRA team.
It was agreed to postpone proposed meeting with VicRoads Bicycle Route Managers until after the Council elections since no decisions will be made until business resumes with new councillors in 20006. In the meantime the State Government’s Draft proposals for Sustainable Neighbourhoods places great emphasis on alternative forms of trasport which, of course, includes bicycle paths shown in the documentation just where we want them on the verge of roads or back of kerb.
Judy has been discussing with Glen the various reports as to water quality in the creek. The most recent reports are difficult to obtain as are reports dealing with contaminated dredge spoil from around the island in the creek. The extent of toxicity and manner of its disposal are also difficult and costly to obtain. Since it can no longer be pumped onto industrial land above Wells Road Bridge where is it being dumped?
Foreshore Vegetation Management
Fortunately the DSE vetoed the second and third principles which Council wanted to introduce into management of vegetation. These were not planting anything that would grow above two metres from the floor level of dwellings on the foreshore or Beach Road and allowing residents to request pruning of trees that they considered were blocking their views despite the fact that there is no legal entitlement to private views of the Bay. Fortunately EVC Management guidelines does permit the re-establishement of, for example, a Banksia Woodland on the foreshore, but priority will be given initially to planting ground cover on the dunes south of the creek. However there has been more vandalism of Banksias south of the creek recently. (EVC Environmental Vegetation Classes)
541 Main Street, Mordialloc Decision
The VCAT determination for 541 Main Street, Mordialloc, not surprisingly for we cynics, has approved three storeys with the fourth storey set back, for the old police station site. Those of us attending the four days Hearing believe that Council’s special witness, Craig Czarny, damaged the Council’s case by admitting that he had been engaged by Council to model height limits for the core commercial area between Main St, Beach Road and Owen Street. In his submission to the Hearing the consultant stated that “the plan envisages a maximum height of 4 storeys for the central precinct? Under cross examination by Ms Brennen, for the developer, Czarny stated that his views of an appropriate development of the subject land would be a 3 storey street wall recessive above“. Making four storeys and thus setting a precedent for four storeys in the Mordialloc Activity centre. In their summation the Members found that, “We note that he, Mr Czarny, did not recommend a two storey built form as suggested by some objectors, but rather he conceded that a higher form of development was possible on the site.’ The member continues, “We have taken the step of lowering the building(from 5 storeys to 4) generally along the lines recommended by Mr Czarny.”
Three Blue Wedge Coalition members attended a Gateway Process meeting at the Port of Melbourne Authority offices organised by the Government. The ‘gatekeepers’ were appointed to assess
the business justification for channel deepening. The gatekeepers came from Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide! Channel Deepening Meeting at Chelsea RSL Monday 3rd.
541 Main Street, Mordialloc (continued)
Mr Czarny is still employed by council and states in his sub. to the Hearing that “work is underway to determine an appropriate scale (of development) for this and other land in the activity centre” He specifically mentioned in his submission that the arc of Beach Road would be an “appropriate site for higher forms of development. The Housing commission units perhaps? The question then is why are 4 storey height limits still being considered when councillors (we believed) and the community have consistently objected to 4 storeys in Mordialloc? What is the process at work here? Are the councillors and the community’s preferred options being ignored? Who in council is making decisions which ignore the community’s preferences despite the DOI directive in the General Practice Note for Structure Planning for Activity Centres. “Consultation with stakeholders throughout the process is essential…Community engagement is a key element at all stages of preparing a structure plan… Each stage will need specific stakeholder engagement and community consultation.
Mordialloc Skateboard Facility
Despite over 30 objections from nearby residents and others it seems certain that the site in Attenborough Park will be chosen for the 8-14 year olds’ skateboard facility. The park has been the subject of an extensive Draft Master Plan as a passive recreation area. The site is in close proximity to Doyles hotel with people parking on the park in the evening, close to the creek where vandalism of boats is a frequent occurrence, and will increase littering of the area especially if a kiosk is included.