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.
Corrections to the minutes humbly acknowledged and accepted. Debate re the submission to Department of Immigration re Australia’s Future Population should be sent under MBCL heading? Voting resulted in 6 members in favour with 4 against. It was felt that because of land degradation, soil salinity and water shortage an increase in population would need to be very carefully considered by whichever Government was in power.
Water The second round of monitoring was carried out by Penny, Brian, Nina and Frank. Many thanks to these volunteers. The film is being processed by Excell staff. Unfortunately there is anger that some residents living along Beach Road have decided to call themselves Friends of San Antonio Court. They don’t work with Council’s Natural Bush Area Staff and are solely concerned with illegally removing vegetation on the foreshore to improve their view.
Melbourne Water Drain, Mentone
After discussion with Melbourne Water about the removal of the sign warning people not to swim near the outlet of the drain, letters have been sent to Dr Brian Robinson and the Managing Director of Melbourne Water querying the removal of the sign. Signs remain on Kingston council drain pipes crossing the beach between Mordialloc and Mentone. Four weeks on there has been no reply to these letters.
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.
Submissions to Senate Inquiry into the WTO and Treaties, ResCode 2000, Kyoto Protocol.
The first round of photography was completed in August and the film has been dispatched for printing-possibly on a compact disc for easy reference at a later date. Notes were made on plant growth in each area. School groups have successfully planted grasses in sections of the foreshore and these are flourishing. Thanks to Tony for so efficiently organising sites.
Tony Collins was present and was able to give a detailed report on The Grange’s feral proof fence almost completed. Rowan Woodland. After a controlled burn in April a Scout group planted 1000 plants. Revegetation is occurring. Chiquita Park’s future is still uncertain. Bald Hill/Namatjira Park with remnant plants is now part of Excell’s contract. Mordialloc Creek is being used to control Bridal Creeper. Kingston Heath has minor remnants of Swamp Paperbark .Community people may be employed in this park. Kingston Foreshore. It is reassuring to know that there are two people working full time on the foreshore. Excell has been working with school groups on the foreshore also. This is in part an education exercise to encourage young people to realise the importance of foreshore conservation. Bonbeach, Williams Grove, Friends of Bonbeach planted trees on the foreshore on Sunday 30th July. Clusters of students from Seaford/Carrum Primary Schools are also involved.
Kingston Street Tree Management Study
It was decided that MBCL would write in support of Ron’s review of the document. An appreciative acknowledgement has been received from David Digby.
Woodlands Industrial Estate / Biosolids
The Peer Review of Golders Report is still being carried out by Woodward Clyde on ti use of biosolids in Lake 1, Woodlands Industrial Estate.
Letter from RP. re Kingston’s Street Tree Strategy (for MBCL file), Port Phillip Regional Catchment re weed & rabbit action plans, VLGA Constitutional reform document, DOI re changes to Commonwealth Assessment & approval development projects when the EPBC comes into operation, Offor Sharp re Woodlands Wetlands, EPA re Ballast Water & Hull Fouling, John Thwaites re Grand Prix and review of land use on Crown Land.
Tony Collins (Excel) advises that the sites have been marked along the creek and foreshore and photographing can commence late August and then every three months thereafter. Tony will attend 5th August meeting to finalise details.
The feral fence has been commenced at The Grange. Unfortunately there has been an out- break of vandalism causing considerable damage. Rob Jones has been replaced by Emily while he is on leave. 800 grasses have been planted at Bradshaw Park. S.C-S waters the yellow box eucalypts. Heaths are growing well in the control burn areas of the Rowan Woodlands. The Southern Golf Club ‘lake’ on the boundary of Braeside Park has gone ahead but a Parks Victoria officer is meeting with the Friends group to discuss the issue. Friends wonder whether the SGC should pay for the groundwater used in the ‘lake’. A request was made to BIOSIS for payment for the potting mix used in the rescue of plants from Epsom. Some difficulty arousing interest in the Federation Trail proposal and payment to the artist involved. Two foxes were found dead in the Park as a result of the poisoning program. A cat ban has been successfully introduced to Hains development south of Braeside Park. Well done our new Councillors!
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.
Congratulations to MBCL President Johanna van Klaveren who ran a clean, green campaign and defeated four male contestants to win the seat of Carrum Carrum.
On being announced winner, Johanna graciously and publicly acknowledged the community work of ex-Councillor Nixon. Unfortunately a vitriolic campaign of misinformation about the newly elected councillors is being run in the Liberal funded Chelsea Independent??? newspaper.
River Red gums have been planted in the park to lower salinity levels. A $6000 fence has been provided to keep grazing cattle from the trees. A $33200 Federal Community Grant has now been received to create a Federation Community trail to include Koori culture, scar tree identification, Carrum Carrum swamp history, the heathland and old race course. A fox eradication program is underway. The Web page saga has been resolved as Ron has achieved his aim of having a staff increase for the Park! With six rangers operating Ron has removed his comments from the web page! Burns in The Grange may have been deliberately lit. Unfortunately 4-5 pine trees have been cut down to enable a new fence to be built around the park. A working bee at Rowland Woodlands removed coast wattles. A burn was carried out to encourage re-vegetation. Bradshaw Park had an ‘unofficial’ burn which extended 20 metres into the park. Rosemary West made the saving of Chiquita Park a plank in her election campaign.
The Open Space Report was finally released and, although both MBCL and the KCEC, had made submissions two years ago which were included in the report, we had to ask for a copy of the report. It was only reluctantly sent to our groups to enable us to make further comment. There is cause for concern over proposals to sell off small neighbourhood parks to finance developments on larger parks. The small parks will be monitored for five years to see if they are used. We believe that a 40 year time frame at least is necessary to assess whether the parks are required given that there is likely to be considerable demographic changes in Kingston as a result of the Residential Strategy report due to be released now that the election is over.