MBCL 50th Anniversary
MBCL 50th anniversary was attended by 30 former and current members. It was great to see some of the original members who had established MBCL in 1969 and later Port Phillip Conservation Council with a view to protecting the foreshore around Port Phillip Bay and the creeks that flow into it. When some of the original meeting reports were checked for display it was found that in a 1972 report the EPA was concerned about pollution in Mordialloc Creek and debated whether the creek banks should be concrete lined. When the Dandenong Valley Authority decided to do just that MBCL president, Dr Len Warren and secretary,Mara Hayler where able to convince Mordialloc Council to oppose that option. The Metropolitan Board of Works then stepped in, retained the earthern banks, phragmitie reeds to clean the water and the indigenous Maleluccas on the creek banks banks. This area has become a popular bird habitat.
While it was interesting to re-read the 1972 Environment Protection Authority (EPA) report on the creek it is concerning that there is still pollution problems with drains flowing into the creek. For instance PFAS has been found in Dunlop Drain. This drain flows close to the Moorabbin airport which would have this highly polluting substance stored on hand since it is used for fighting fires. Expanding industrial businesses at Braeside have been found responsible for, and fined, for depositing plastic in either Heatherton or Settlement Drain which flows into the creek.
This is the last remaining block of remnant coastal vegetation in Chelsea . The proposal to develop will cause the removal of most of the vegetation and thus destroy the ecological value of the site. This lovely green space will be lost when only 23 trees out of 203 existing trees will be retained if the development proceeds. Development is causing the loss of trees and gardens throughout Kingston. It is claimed that all metropolitan suburbs should have at least 30% tree coverage to ameliorate climate crisis however the City of Kingston has only 14% coverage and continues to lose more trees through level crossing removals…30 lovely red flowering gums along the rail line between Mentone and Parkdale stations were removed to provide car parking spaces.
A tour of the route of the proposed freeway was organised for the Member of the Victorian State Government Upper House. Clifford Hayas his personal adviser.Kelvin Thompson and two members of the anti Freeway Committee in August. Susan Ley, Federal Environment Minister, will present the decision of the EPBC when it is available. This will be the deciding factor for the approval of the freeway.
Tragically 30 red flowering gums along side the rail line between Mentone and Parkdale stations have been removed and replaced with concrete. This is to provide parking for vehicles that can no longer be accommodated at the Mentone car park due to work on the removal of the rail crossing.
Affordable housing is badly needed in Mordialloc. Evidence of people sleeping on the bank of the creek near the pedestrian bridge was noted earlier this month. People were moved on but piles of plastic and other bits and pieces were left for Council to remove.
National Tree Planting Day
Three planting on National Tree Planting Day was successfully carried out by the NRA team and over a 100 volunteers at the George Woods Reserve. 1800 plants were installed near the pedestrian bridge and the boat ramp. It is pleasing to note how well trees are now growing along the Heatherton Drain outlet and further along the creek. A Nankeen Night Heron was noted perched on a tall tree with Cormorants nearby
Letter to Clifford Hayes, MP Member for South East Legislative Council, in response to the MP’s request to learn of important issues in his electorate. Money for Dent’s Reserve was one issue mentioned. The MP is a member of Sustainable Population Australia.
A meeting on site with a Council Office, a MBCL member and a qualified gardener discussed means of saving Banksia seedlings from the Jack Cuthbertson Memorial Garden before it is destroyed to make way for two netball courts. The seedlings would be propagated and distributed to the community. The Council is no longer spraying the site.
Rossdale Golf Course
Rossdale golf course is reported to be up for sale again for housing. This will mean more loss of open space. Golfers will have to ply on the Capital Golf course adjacent to the Moorabbin Airport. 2500 acres will come back to Council from the sale of the golf course.
Pocket parks for marginal seats were part of the Labor Government’s pre-election enticement. While City of Kingston missed out on the offer, despite Edithvale and Chelsea lacking in open space, there may be an opportunity to gain funding as a result of an appeal to the local member and/or Council’s developer’s fund in lieu of open space.
Heritage Listing of Pompei Site
Heritage listing of the Pompei site was refused. State listing may be acceptable for local heritage listing. Mordialloc Creek was an important means of early settlers gaining access to the Mornington Peninsula by horse and carriage or wagon. Boat building and fishing soon became important means of earning a living around the creek, therefore why not include the creek and environs in a local heritage listing? D. Murray’s well researched book of maps of the local area is an interesting and useful guide to changes of land use over the years -and is still changing. Apparently DEWLP is surveying vacant land throughout the State and evidently considers the Pompei site and Attenborough Park to be vacant land!
Committee of Management Mordialloc Creek
W. Grahame reported on this meeting which was held at the Mordialloc Motor Yacht Club. Melbourne Water, Kingston Council Officers. DEWLP. Boating and Fishing Club Members were in attendance. Issues raised were moorings. Sea Scouts lack of boat launching facilities.
Heritage Listing of Pompei Site and Mordialloc Creek Environs
Discussion about Heritage listing for not just the Pompei site and large boat building shed but also the creek environs from the mouth to the railway bridge has been postponed until February 2019. A local heritage consultant thought the whole area was worthy of this listing because of its long fishing and boat building history. While the big shed could become a boat building museum this seems unlikely to happen.
P.MacGuire-White reported on drainage run-off from sports ground hard surfaces outside the Grange boundary effecting the vegetation within the Grange.
Reports of a victory at VCAT with a large Coptic Church being refused. The planning permit sought was not only for the Church, with a tall tower and dome, but stables for horses, sports grounds, etc. The refusal was based on the fact that the church would be more useful in an urban setting rather than on a 40 hectare block of land planned to encourage small size farming activity according to Green Wedge policy documents. With Planning Minister Wynne’s victory in Saturday’s election the Green Wedge may become even more secure!
Bay Trail went to a VCAT Hearing in July. The opposition presentation included a Barrister and an expert witness for vegetation. It was thought that the Council presentation was somewhat lacking in some aspects. Awaiting the result of the Hearing
Bonbeach and Edithvale Level Crossing Removals
Also awaiting the Advisory Committee’s conclusions. Kingston Council’s Drainage expert, Alan West’s excellent report on the drainage work already carried out in Edithvale (drain replacements) was received unfortunately at the conclusion of the Hearing but is a great resource to have on hand.
RAMF continue’s with their campaign. Perhaps with all the rail and road work announced by the Andrew’s Labor Government recently the unnecessary freeway may be considered to be of less importance and drop down the list!
Regent’s Park seems to be heading for a VCAT Hearing. Some support is being organised by a number of objectors who consider that the destruction of a Memorial Garden containing mature trees in memory of a dedicated conservationist, Jack Cuthbertson, shows lack of respect as well as realising that mature trees are a valuable resource as climate change is making its presence felt with climbing temperatures and drought.
Although no meeting was held in June members were involved in two major State Government projects of an extremely controversial nature. These are Level Crossing removals for Bonbeach and Edithvale Stations and the Mordialloc four lane. 9 km freeway elevated to cross over Governor Road, Waterways wetlands and Mordialloc Creek before joining Springvale Road. This road will also cross through the south west corner of Braeside Wetlands thus impacting two major wetland habitats frequented by migratory and endangered bird species. Groundwater in this low-lying area, part of the former Carrum Carrum swamp, may be contaminated by construction work at both Mordialloc Creek and at Edithvale Station when the acid sulphate soil is exposed to oxygen and endangering the water quality in the Edithvale Seaford Wetlands. An Environment Effects Statement (EES) was required based on the likely impact that polluted groundwater may have on the Edithvale Seaford wetlands thus making it unsuitable for bird life resulting in a loss of Ramsar listing of the wetlands.
Residents Against Mordialloc Freeway
RAMF consist of residents and concerned environmentalists who are not convinced that a fifth major road is required leading to Mornington Peninsula. There are alternatives such as lanes added to Springvale Road in the grassy paddock opposite Waterways residential estate and Richfield retirement Village – or extending the rail line from Frankston to Mornington. Instead residents will be faced with an elevated four lane ( maybe six lanes in future) freeway built across the open wetlands presently peaceful habitat for birds and a calm retreat for residents.
Level Crossing Removals
This project also kept environment and resident groups busy during June. Although two options are offered to communities it is usually the loudest and largest groups that are heard especially if political advantage is involved in Most residents don’t like the look of the elevated rail line and think it will devalue their property whereas the trench method may create flooding & subsidence problems in these suburbs. Groundwater impact was the most important factor under discussion at the Panel Hearing 4″-1″ June at Patterson River Golf Club. It was fortunate that the Friends of Edithvale Seaford wetlands were able to acquire two excellent expert witnesses:- Scott Seymour, for many years an engineer with Melbourne Water and extremely knowledgeable about groundwater. Supporting Scott was Sean Dooley an expert on bird migratory habits. Big questions remain about the success of the horizontal pipe in a trench method of dealing with flooding and contaminated groundwater.
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.
Well! After all the sturm and drang over over the Pompeii Landing on the bank of the creek is seems that the current occupant will be offered a nine year lease by Council so that work can continue providing a launching ramp for small boat owners. The land is dispute is a small area of Crown Land. The Mordialloc Fishing & Boating Club will also use this site.
Two developments are being planned for Main Street – partial demolition of Mordialloc Hotel and 26 units for the car park went to mediation last month. As did the Grocery Store, a shop with goods too expensive to succeed in Main Street. This shop is to become an up-market cocktail bar. Parking, already a problem in the shopping centre was a concern for objectors.
A meeting was held at Waterways cafe 24 February to learn how migratory birds may be affected when the four lane elevated freeway was built across, not only the Waterways wetlands but also Woodlands and Braeside wetlands. According to the Parsons Brinckerhoff report to VicRoads Lathams Snipe, a migratory bird will be affected. A meeting 6th February heard speakers from RMIT, Dr Ian Woodcock and Crystal Legacy, Traffic Planners describe how freeways are consuming the suburbs, rather than building more public transport. The VicRoads team also spoke at this RAMPF meeting at Dingley as did two speakers from Environment Victoria.
Three MBCL members met with the Local Member to discuss the potential threat to the Banksia Woodland as a result of the SES being offered use of the site for a replacement depot. The current Scope building is situated on Crown land. Both VicRail and VicRoad own strips of land on either side of this building. It is thought that the building could be reconfigured to accommodate both the Scope building and the SES. There may be a scar three on Groves Reserve.
VCAT was not happy with the extent of vegetation which would be removed if the development of 14 units went ahead on this lovely little piece of bushland at Edithvale – a suburb short of open space. Land is in limbo at present Local residents would like Council to buy the land for open space as has been done where two house blocks were bought for that purpose.