Tuesday, 12 September 2017

It’s Biodiversity Month!

Biodiversity is the web of life, where individual strands link together to make something that is strong, complex and beautiful.
In our bushland suburb we can experience the best of this diversity because we still have many of the connections needed for a variety of plants and animals to survive. We have trees (young and old), shrubs and groundcovers that create places and spaces for animals to live and breed.

Many locals are doing their bit to protect our local biodiversity by having a bit of natural habitat in their backyards and keeping the weeds under control and out of the public bushland.


Many locals are responsible pet owners and keep their killer kitties indoors, and their frolicking fidos under control so we still have local birdlife such as the West Ridge Wood ducks (regularly recorded in the bird surveys) who have produced a vulnerable and fluffy flock and the Powerful Owls parents that have produced a pair of owlets this year. 

Squirrel Glider Survey & Nightlife Spotlight

On September 23rd the Squirrel Glider nestboxes will be surveyed to better understand how the local population is surviving.

Hunter Intrepid Landcarers will be undertaking the annual review, checking to see if the nestboxes are occupied, counting the occupants and relocating any unused boxes to a more potentially preferable location.

If you’re a young person and want to connect with the Intrepid tribe find the Hunter Intrepid Facebook page and register for the surveying on the Eventbrite page.

As part of the Squirrel Glider surveillance a spotlighting session for locals and the Intrepid crew will be held from 6pm with Dr Chris McLean providing the know-how as he is very much in-the-know when it comes to the night time activities of arboreal wildlife. To book one of the 20 locals tickets visit Eventbrite .

WHAT IS DEMENTIA?

Alzheimer’s Australia has a raft of resources to better understand dementia.The following has been taken from The Talk to Me brochure.

Dementia describes a collection of symptoms that are caused by disorders affecting the brain. It is not one specific disease. Dementia affects thinking, behaviour and the ability to perform everyday tasks and in time will interfere with the persons normal, social, and working life.

Everyone with dementia is unique. There are many different types of dementia and symptoms can present differently in different people.

These are principles of communication that people living with dementia have told us would make a difference to their lives

Talk to me

Please talk to me, not my carer, family member or friend. Don’t prejudge my level of understanding.

Please speak clearly to me

Make eye contact and speak clearly. Use short sentences, with one idea at a time. Avoid jargon, as I might misunderstand.

Please keep questions simple

Make sure I am listening and use simple questions and/or repetition, offered with sensitivity. It’s easier for me to answer direct questions, rather than open-ended questions, such as saying ‘wasn’t it lovely when we went out to the park yesterday?’ Not just ‘wasn’t it lovely yesterday?’.

Treat me with dignity and respect

I am still a person, so don’t patronise me. Respect and empathy are important to everyone. If I act differently it may be because I am having difficulty communicating or because of my disease.

Don’t question my diagnosis

The symptoms of dementia are not always obvious. Listen to me and don’t minimise my feelings.

Distractions cause disruptions

Less noise and fewer distractions, such as bright lights, will help me to focus.

Be patient and understanding

Sometimes it takes a little longer for me to process information and find the right answer. Don’t rush me. Allow me time to speak.

Break it down

Providing information in smaller chunks will really help me.

Signage

Please use clear and simple signage.

The Science of Success


The Science of Sustainability was comprehensively shared during August with an estimate of 656 visitors exploring Questacon’s hands on exhibits, the Fur & Feather exhibit and Scinema short films at Progress Hall. The Fern & The Burn observation trail was walked by 525 people and provided insights to the impact of fire on native vegetation, how garden escapes, especially Asparagus fern, can transform the landscape and also the ethics around biking in the bush.

Over the week 448 students and teachers attended. The local schools included Coal Point, Teralba, Awaba, Birriban, St Josephs and St John Vianney. Several groups from The Hunter Home Schoolers & Educators also visited. On the weekends 208 visitors were received.



The feedback was overwhelmingly positive.

“Exceptional, Really great afternoon, can’t do that sort of science in a classroom” “We go for a walk all the time and never look up, a great investigation”

“We all had a wonderful time. The science presentation was awesome and the kids loved the interactive displays and the observational trail walk. It was a truly educational, fun and amazing experience for children and parents alike”



The event was made possible by $8650 of community sponsorship and $18,566 of inkind contributions in the form of printing by Toronto First National and 510 hours of volunteer time by 18 amazing volunteers.

Will there be another science week event? Possibly but not for a few years.






What business is permissible in a residentially zoned neighbourhood?

The lack of a consistent definition of Short Term Holiday Letting, the rapid growth of the online booking industry and the ambiguity of what is and isn't permissible within a residential zone is why the State Government has put out an options paper on Short Term Holiday Letting such as AirBnB , Stayz and TripAdvisor.

The aim is to develop a framework to hopefully provide a balance between people being able to utilise their assets for economic gain but importantly not compromise the integrity of the neighbourhood in which they are placed or the amenity of the residents that call a place home.

Further to last months article on NSW Government Short Term Holiday Letting (STHL) options report we have reviewed the document and have provided below a brief summary, in the context of residential neighbourhoods, of the key elements which relate to regulation/compliance and planning controls.

In regards to the regulation/compliance component, the report provides commentary on three options being:

  1. Industry Self Regulation 
  2. Government Regulation 
  3. Combination of Government and Self Regulation 
It is our opinion that in order to protect the amenity of residents and maintain the character of our neighbourhoods and community, registration, complaints management, penalties for non conformance and monitoring (i.e. number of days of use etc) should be controlled by Government. Other functionary tasks, that don’t have impacts on amenity, including education etc can be dealt with through self regulation.

The second component deals with planning controls including
  • Limits on number of days per year of use 
  • Limits to length of stay 
  • Limits to number of rooms/guests 
  • Regulation based on whether hosts live on site or don’t live on site 

Thresholds based on above criteria will determine whether STHL is either
  • Exempt Development 
  • Complying Development 
  • Requires Development Consent 
It is considered reasonable that where hosts live on site the operation would be categorised as exempt development provided the operation is registered. Exempt development doesn’t require Council approval and would be considered to have low risk to residential amenity as the hosts live on site and affectively control/police the behaviour of guests to ensure code of conduct is enforced.

Complying Development would apply to operations were owners don’t live on site and a threshold of number of days of operation is set, number of guests is set and the operation is registered.

A Development Application would need to be lodged when the threshold criteria of days of use, number of guests etc is exceeded.

There are feedback options on the NSW Planning & Environment website. You can fill in a submission form, complete a survey or write to The Director of Housing Policy.

The Progress Association will be providing a template for people to use which addresses items outlined in above summary for submission to Department of Planning. It is anticipated that this template will be available on CPPA webpage from Monday 25th September.

Of interest there was a story on ABC 702 (Sydney) on Monday 4th September on impacts of STHL on residents in strata, the story opened with the commentator advising that the market penetration of Airbnb in Australia was the highest of any country in the world. With this in mind we urge people to consider the options paper carefully and make submissions to Department of Planning and also contact Greg Pipers office as per our August newsletter advice. (NB Submissions close 31 October 2017).

Depending on community interest CPPA may look at arranging speakers to talk on this topic in October. If you are interested could you please send an email or sms to Suzanne via a committee contact, or make a comment on the Facebook page. Details will be provided when the level of interest is known.

There has been quite a bit of concern about this issue across the State, but it starts in our suburbs. A website www.neighboursnotstrangers.com has lots of information about the impacts that are being felt.

Friendship Foreshore Picnic

 Building on the success of the Friendship Festival held during August, regular gatherings are planned. 

The first of these friendly affairs is a spring Community Picnic being held from 5.30pm onwards on Friday 27 October. Meet at Toronto Rotunda on the Foreshore.

Bring your own food, drinks, seating and games to share. Bring your guitar or your knitting needles or dust off the cricket set. Enjoy a friendly start to the weekend by getting to know your neighbours and local community members. A family-friendly event. All welcome, supported by TASNG and CPPA.

DAs In Play 1/8/17 to 11/9/17

You can keep up to date with developments in the area through Council’s online tracking system. The list below has been abridged from Lake Macquarie City Council’s Application Tracking system. It has been compiled to support community understanding of developments in our area. Please consult LMCC’s website for details and a complete listing. The information below is from 1/8/17 to 11/9/17

• 6 Alkira Street: Boundary Adjustment, 1 into 2 Lot Subdivision and 2 Dwelling Houses - Amendment To Consent: Decision pending
• 29 Amelia Street: Remove 1 tree and build a 5x3.8x2.4 m single car shed and storage space to house a car and provide
• 47A Brighton Avenue: Dwelling House and Demolition of Existing Dwelling: Awaiting Information Requested
• 151-155 Brighton Av (Hirecrafft Marina) Awaiting Information Requested.
• 23 Coal Point Road: New Residential Dwelling & Retaining Walls: Approved
• 63 Coal Point Road: Dwelling Alterations and Additions and Retaining Wall: Check New Application
• 77 Coal Point Rd: Dwelling House and Ancillary detached Garage/Shed - Amendment: Check New Application
• 128 Coal Point Rd: Dwelling House Alterations & Additions: Approved
• 226 Coal Point Road. Dwelling Alteration & Additions. Under Assessment
• 236 Coal Point Road :Dwelling House: Approved
• 269A Coal Point Road: Fence: Under Assessment
• 38 Excelsior Parade: Dwelling Alterations and Additions: Under Assessment
• 58A Brighton Avenue :Secondary Dwelling: Under Assessment
• 75 Excelsior Parade :Dwelling House, Swimming Pool, Workshop and Demolition of Existing Dwelling - Amendment: Lodged
• 27 Hampton Street: Dwelling & Retaining Walls: Approved
• 38 Kilaben Road : Split level Dwelling and retaining walls- approved
• 1 Laycock Street: Steel reinforced swimming pool and associated pool surrounds: Awaiting Information Requested
• 14/17 Laycock Street: Community Facility- Bridge club- Under Assessment
• 1/17 Laycock St: Child Care Centre: Awaiting Information Requested
• 1 Oakhampton Court: Dwelling Alterations and Additions: Approved
• 7 Robey Crescent :Dwelling Alterations & Additions & Attached Secondary Dwelling: Approved
• 11 Robey Crescent: Alterations and Additions - Modification: On Notification/Advertising
• 20 Skye Point Road Dwelling Alterations & Additions. Awaiting Information Requested
• 47 Skye Point Road. Dwelling House Additions. Approved
• 74 Skye Point Road. Dwelling House, Garage, Swimming Pool, Alt & Adds to Boatshed. Approved
• 78 Skye Point Road: Dwelling House - Alterations & Additions, Boat Shed, Water Recreation Structure: Awaiting information requested
• 106 Skye Point Road: Dwelling Alterations and Additions and Pool with Associated Safety Barriers - Amendment: On Notification/Advertising
• 180 Skye Point Road: Dwelling Alterations and Additions (Garage and Boatshed) and Demolition of Existing Boatshed - Amend: Under Assessment
• 228 Skye Point Road: Dwelling House, Swimming Pool with Associated Safety Barriers and Demolition of Existing Dwelling: Awaiting Information Requested
• 268 Skye Point Road: Detached Dual Occupancy and Strata Subdivision: Under assessment
• 296 Skye Point Road: Dwelling Alterations and Additions: Under Assessment
• 27 Whitelocke Street: B149 - Dwelling House: Approved
• 29 Whitelocke Street: Secondary Dwelling and Retaining Wall Awaiting Information Requested

Sunday, 6 August 2017

The Science of Sustainability featuring Questacon's Earth quest

Months of planning and anticipation is about to come to fruition as time stands still for Science Week. One week with two weekends means several super-hands-on science sessions are available for all the community near and far to attend on 12-13 August and 19-20 August, or perhaps during the week.

What will be on show?


  • 15 Earth Quest interactive exhibits from Questacon will spark an interest from Outer Space to Inner Earth. 
  • A mini festival of the best short science films from Scinema - (no popcorn though). 
  • Some local sensory exhibits around our feathered and furry friends with nestboxes built by the Toronto Men’s Shed 
  • An observation trail in the bush out the back to wander along and discover some field science and the impacts of fire on garden escapes. 
Over 400 students have booked in for the mid-week sessions, which is very exciting including two sessions with the Hunter Home Educators-Schoolers. Some mid week 9am sessions are still available.

Whilst bookings aren’t essential for the weekends, if we do get overwhelmed with enthusiasm those with a ticket will get in and numbers will have to be regulated. If you’d like to lend a hand contact us.

Bookings can be made through Eventbrite- The Science of Sustainability – Questacon’s Earth Quest exhibits-Community.