Happy New Year Everyone!
Let’s hope the holidays have restored energy and enthusiasm ready to step once more into the fray.
Council officers have been busy over the Christmas break working to organize a meeting to present three options to the public of proposed routes for the bike track. The options are: Council’s preferred option for a cliff top path (formalizing informal tracks according to the CEO at a media briefing), The VicRoads option (widening the traffic lanes on Beach Road to accommodate club riders at the weekend mainly), the PPCC/KCEC/MBCL option of standardizing Beach Road traffic lanes to conform with narrower lanes in Bayside and utilize the existing kerb/verge alongside Beach Road to form a shared path. This option means that the informal paths on the dune/clifftop grassed areas would continue to be available for pedestrians free of fast moving wheeled vehicles.
An article in the Age Wednesday,31″ January, “Share and share alike” quoted Mr Vincent, VicRoads claiming “they spend $8 million every year ..creating wider footpaths in outer suburbs to make space for a bike lane up the kerb, on the road side of the footpath,” Well! Well! January proved to be busy month for three MBCL members who prepared submissions and presented them to the Panel Hearing held at the Kingston Club 22nd/23rd January. We were asked to emphasize the importance of retaining the character and heritage values of Mordialloc Activity Centre and request mandatory height limits which are unfortunately likely to be four storeys in some areas especially on the east and west side of the Frankston rail line.
Coastal Vegetation of the City of Kingston
Jeff Yugovich’s research paper, July 2006, reports that “Coastal sand dunes from Bay Street south to the City boundary appears once to have supported Coast Banksia Woodland.” Regrettably only two mature Banksias remain on the foreshore south of Mordialloc Creek.
Melbourne Water Beach Outlets
A final meeting 23rd November to discuss options for removal or alteration to the outfall for the Marina Road and Ashmore Avenue drainage outlets referred to the cost of realignment to Mordialloc Creek of the Ashmore Avenue outlet versus a short outfall with a jetty over. Realignment to the north for the Marina Road drain was worth further consideration however this would bring the drain excessively close to the fragile eroding Beaumaris cliffs. Rock armour would be required to stabilize the foot of the cliffs. RW pointed out that Janice Munt MP had offered money to remove council drains in return for Council providing money for Chicquita Park. The drains referred to are Melbourne Water drains. It will cost $5 million to relocate the Marina Road drain because some Bayside residents don’t like the appearance of the drains crossing the beach.
The Pace development 6 Bear Street/89 Albert Smith, Mordialloc was refused by Council and will probably go to VCAT.
The Paintball Games Centre Springvale Road, Aspendale is not proceeding. The application was withdrawn.
Parkdale Plaza Saga continues with the proponent not complying with VCAT directions. MW and JF are watching developments closely.
541 Main Street is rumoured to be under new management.
Environment Defenders Office
Native Vegetation Law Workshop Following discussion with Verity who is organizing the workshops it was decided to hold over the workshop until February 2007. EDO staff are prepared to conduct the workshop all day Saturday because they believe best value can be obtained over a longer period
Friends of Bradshaw Park Working Bee will be held 10 am Saturday 16th December- weeding followed by a Christmas break-up BBQ!
Coast Action Coast Care Community Seminar 6th December 7pm-9pm at the Port Phillip Eco Centre, St Kilda – if you have the energy after the MBCL meeting!
Peter Scullin Reserve
It is obvious that the dry weather has played havoc with the revegetation program on the Scullin Reserve. Most of the metre tall she-oaks have died and groundcover plants are missing from their plastic shelters. The vandalized she- oaks, cut down Easter 2006 have not been replaced .The excuse given is that trees planted elsewhere on the Reserve compensate for vandalized trees. Council officer responsible claims that groundcover and trees are watered fortnightly. Clearly that’s not enough plus the fact that the shelter belt of coast wattle is no longer surrounding the Reserve to offer protection.
Judy reported on the residents meeting to deal with issues resulting from semi-trailers now exiting into Melrose Street and turning right into White Street thereby causing congestion in this busy arterial road. VCAT gave permission for the traffic movement despite Council’s objections.
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!
A Sincere Vote of Thanks once again to members for their commitment to the daunting task of trying to combat the cavalier attitude of some local government officials with regard to the environment. For example for the past two years members have spent countless hours researching, debating and surveying residents in an attempt to find the best option for a safe, environmentally friendly route for the Round the Bay bike trail. An invitation to KCEC to make a presentation to councillors September 4 provided a small glimmer of hope!! A trillion thanks to members who door knocked homes for the survey, to Dr Earl and Nina who compiled a statistical report on survey results to E-mail to councillors, to Brian who spent hours preparing a power point presentation and to Stephen for his tremendous contribution in measuring Beach Road lanes to prove that the wide Kingston lanes could accommodate a back of kerb bike track rather than located on the cliff tops.
Yammerbook Nature Reserve
Grand Opening Sunday 10th September at Wells Road close to Mordialloc Creek Bridge. The culmination of years of planning to convert neglected piece of land into an important addition to Kingston’s wetlands/parkland thanks to the determination of AGRA, Melbourne Water and to Nina who has found time in her busy schedule to organise the opening Well done all!
National Tree Day Planting.. About 40 people planted 800 mixed plants- grasses, groundcover and shrubs beneath the existing tree canopy along old Wells Road opposite the factories. Mordialloc College and Yarrabah held their National Tree Day planting along the creek Friday 28-7-06. At Bonbeach 13 volunteers planted 400 plants on the foreshore but not one tree because of Kingston Council’s policy of not planting trees for five years in that location and indeed along the whole 13 kms of foreshore!
Paintball Facility Aspendale Gardens
As a result of a mediation meeting which AGRA and Barry Ross attended (on MBCL’s behalf) the site has been modified because Melbourne Water required the proponents to build bridges over Smythes Drain which runs through the property. The facility will now be located to the north between Smythe’s Drain and the levee bank of Mordialloc Creek. Stephen Hains withdrew his objection so apparently doesn’t consider that it will devalue his expensive Waterways development.
As this exceptionally busy financial year draws to a close we are faced with three or four major projects still to be resolved:- the route of Kingston’s section of the Round the Bay bike trail, replanting the Peter Scullin Reserve after the disastrous “ecological thinning” carried out with DSE permission, and Mordialloc’s Structure Plan to go to a Panel hearing due to pressure from developers for increased building heights in some sections of the activity centre. MBCL and members will be presenting submissions.
Mystery of the Disappearing Submissions
On three occasions recently MBCL members have hand- delivered or faxed submissions to Council on the due date, or the day before, to be later informed and/or reported in Council Minutes that “No submissions were received” or that the subs arrived too late! This matter was raised at the Village Committee meeting and will be investigated we were told.
Mordialloc U3A invited MBCL to speak to the group about Kingston’s open space and parkland. Heatherton Park and Beazley Reserve was part of the presentation but much interest was shown in loss of parkland as well as the Chain of Parks concept. Melbourne Water’s plan to utilise holes left after sand mining for water storage and/or flood retarding basins also created interest.
Waste Transfer Station
Waste Transfer Station, Malcolm Road, Braeside was approved by VCAT despite objections from abutting premises. Southeast Water, Melbourne Water and the EPA did not object despite a triple interceptor being required to trap water used to wash trucks. The interceptor won’t prevent clay sediment or toxic materials flowing into drains, the creek and Bay. VCAT claimed the waste station was an appropriate operation in an Industrial 1 Zone.
News that two of our valued members have relocated to Cheltenham. Very best wishes to Ron and Phyllis as they settle into their new home. News also from Penny travelling in China where she reports “everyone is very green conscious. In Shanghai they have 1.8 metres of greenery for every person – trees, grass and ground level plants. In Guilin a developer removed a tree and 10 people rang the authorities to complain!” Kingston Council please note.
Just Received Goolengook Forest Investigation. Submissions close August 4. Booket available for submitters from MBCL if interested. Also Draft for community comment for Sustainable Water Strategy. Forms for long or shorter comment available from MBCL. Petition to request the Legislative Assembly to prepare a new metropolitan strategy and revoke M2030. to grant local planning policies effective control over height and residential density, stop VCAT acting as a de facto planning authority, maintain green wedges, stop usurping public lands and community assets, protect environmentally sensitive areas. Petition forms available from MBCL.
Melbourne Water Beach Outlets
Stephen reported on outcome of meeting to discuss removing drains at Marina Road, Mentone and near Rosella Road, Mordialloc- the Ashmore Avenue Drain. Groynes and jetties covering the pipes were rejected Extending the pipe further into the Bay a possibility as was the idea of a soakage pit for the Marina Road drain but further discussion revealed that the cliffs at Mentone could be damaged. Stephen suggested to URS that the Ashmore Avenue drain could possibly be diverted to Mordialloc Creek since it drains the area east of the rail line. This would remove the drain from crossing the beach.
Invitation was received to meet Liberal politicians to discuss with them environmental issues Hon. David Davies, Hon Murray Thompson, Inga Peulich, and Liberal candidate for Mordialloc Stephen Hartney were present as was Hon Geoffrey Connard whose idea it was to arrange the meeting. We are grateful for the opportunity to highlight issues and the site visit of the proposed cliff top bike path. Geoffrey H. raised a number of matters:- loss of parks and open space, foreshore vegetation, dredging the Bay and need to retain green wedges.
Bay Trail Bicycle Path
Cr Alabaster and Cr McKeegan were led along the proposed route of the bike path by Jonathon Guttman. Greg was shocked at the destruction to vegetation likely if the path is located on the cliff tops, and the astronomical cost of the bridges as well as the fact that a concrete path would exacerbate run-off causing erosion of the cliffs. A meet- with Cr Arthur is difficult to achieve. Meeting with Member for Mordialloc has taken place. We are awaiting results.
Peter Scullin Reserve
We are deeply indebted to Stephen-Calvert Smith for painstakingly counting the number of trees at the Reserve prior to the removal of all the indigenous coast wattle and boobialla and 45 of the 95 trees 22 out of the 27 banksias, 14 out of the drooping she-oaks. The five remaining banksias are the smallest specimens and every bit of greenery in the entire park up to a height of 2 metres has been shorn. Stephen, in an excellent letter to the Leader asks, “What sort of message does this destruction send to vandals cutting down trees on the foreshore?” We didn’t have long to wait for an answer. Two of the row of spindly she-oaks on the Beach Road side of the Reserve were cut down some time over Easter providing views to a row of units on Beach Road and to the Bay cafe on the corner of Centreway/Beach Road who now boasts in an ad in the local paper, “Our views to the bay have never been better.” While the DSE Conditions for the management of the Reserve states that 80 Banksias must be planted an expert on Banksias says that many of those planted will not survive due to natural attrition and vandalism from those who now have views to the Bay. And all this destruction was caused to provide extra space for a two-day annual Kingston’s Wine and Food event. Meanwhile visitors to the reserve will be deprived of shade and shelter from the weather.
Glen Agnew presented a fascinating slide presentation of his 20 years underwater filming of the Parkdale Reef showing the gradual decline of the plant life and fish species. even through it was astonishing to see some of the species inhabiting the reef – the Magpie Perch looking like a Collingwood supporter with its distinctive black and white. stripes. Glen’s presentation was at the recent meeting of KCEC in April. Great to have him back in action.
Kingston’s survey of the Rakali will take place between Mentone foreshore and the lower reaches of Mordialloc Creek. Stephen has volunteered to help with the survey. Helen may also become involved. She visits the creek daily and has reported a number of dead water rats on the creek banks or rats with facial disfigurement.
Peter Scullin Reserve Landscaping
Thanks to the intervention of the DSE no vegetation removal occurred before the Wine and Food event.. Kingston Council, had neglected, as Committee of Management to apply to the Minister for approval to remove vegetation on the Reserve. A permit was only applied for by Council on the 8th March after DSE advised of the need for a permit. Vegetation clearance commenced Wednesday March 22nd resulting in the loss of 22 Coast Banksias, 14 Sheoaks, all eucalypts .45 trees removed. Council’s list of to revegetation species differs from that of the DSE which lists a Banksia woodland of 80 trees. Council list has 21 Banksias. We had been advised by Parks and Gardens staff that no trees would be removed. All the Coast Wattle, Boobialla, Correas, understorey plants, have gone leaving the Reserve exposed to the elements and the remaining Sheoaks likely to succumb to gales. The other plantings will be grasses and low growing ground cover rather than a substantial windbreak on this vulnerable site.
Thanks to all submitters to the so-called consultation process regarding landscaping the Reserve. Two submissions were claimed to have been too late although one was handed in one day early and one on the due date at Council offices. Incompetence, inefficiency or what???
The Peter Scullin Reserve is Crown Land. How is it that Council officers were unaware that Ministerial approval was required to remove vegetation from Crown Land given the length of time some of the officers have lived and worked in Kingston?
Glen Agnew is back in the water and researching madly we are happy to report!
Waterways Wetlands type of creek development is proposed from Bowen Road to Boundary Road on land currently zoned industrial. However Graham Duff, Melbourne Water, stated at an AGRA meeting that no industrial construction can take place between the creek and Canterbury Road without Melbourne Water approval. A tree barrier could be planted to screen industry from residential areas south of the creek subject to land owners approval. The meeting was also informed that all water from Dandenong Creek flows into Patterson River. A small amount of water is diverted at Pillars Crossing into Mordialloc Creek at all times to keep the creek running. Flood control initiatives for Aspendale were also discussed. In a 1 in 100 year flood Aspendalians were happy to learn that they would be quite safe.
Mordialloc Creek Bridge
Also discussed at the AGRA meeting was the issue of bridge replace- ment and the need to raise the height of the bridge to prevent it acting as a dam during an unusually high tide combined with a 1 in a 100 year flood. Janice Munt has written to VicRoads requesting that MBCL be included on a reference committee for the bridge widening.
Guest Speaker Tricia Phelan
Tricia Phelan from Power to Change was guest speaker at the February meeting. Power to Change is a joint initiative of Environment Victoria, Climate Action Network Australia, Native Conservation Council of NSW, Greenpeace and WWF. The campaign is focused on local action and seeks to work with local communities in Melbourne’s south east for the next two months. Solutions are outlined in the campaign such as helping people to change over to Green Power which is the brand for Government accredited renewable energy products. The introductory letter from the campaign organiser stated:- “MBCL has demonstrated a commitment, among other things, to protect foreshore vegetation in the area. We are concerned about the impacts of climate change on the foreshore and hence we would like to work with MBCL to heighten local awareness about these impacts. ” For further information c/- Environment Victoria 9341 8116
Comprehensive minutes of the Drill Land committee meeting 7th February were tabled. Remarkable progress has been made in establishing a lake and creating an island. Unfortunately funding is not available to complete Stage 2 in the next 3 year plan. Plans for completion are ready and supported by Melbourne Water at a cost of $50,000. The committee will explore other avenues for necessary funds.
Landscaping of the Peter Scullin Reserve
Removal of under storey in the Reserve is concerning. Members inspected the site and decided to request a meeting with the council officer responsible for the project. Under storey is to be removed before the annual two day Wine and Food event March 18 despite the landscape architect recommending that no vegetation be removed before replacement plantings are in place. While the proposal to plant extensively with Banksias is welcome, these trees are slow growing leaving the area exposed for visitors to the foreshore on the other 363 days of the year.