Tuesday, 18 September 2018

What do you want to see on the Toronto foreshore?

The Toronto Foreshore Masterplan community consultation finishes on Monday 24th September.

This is an important opportunity to contribute to the future of the Foreshore and also the Bath St site. Council will be using the comments to inform their decision making, reflecting what the community wants... and there are some interesting comments on the site.

Even though 500 people physically attended a community meeting indicating the preference for community parkland, the flavour and likes of some comments on the Bath St area of the Toronto Foreshore Masterplan is that development is preferred.

Please consider contributing to the process and making a comment. Get help at the library if you need computer support. When making comments ensure they are unequivocal.

Make a comment on the TFM by 24/9/18. https://shape.lakemac.com.au/future-toronto


Lifestyle (Hirecraft) Marina site -Decision coming

At the Council meeting on 10/9/18 Councillors deferred their decision on DA 1835, 151-155 Brighton Avenue, pending a site inspection on 20/9/18 to evaluate the impact of the proposed height and bulk variation to the standard development. 

At the meeting a spokesperson for nearby residents, Reg Crick, outlined the non-compliance issues, the building bulk is exceeded by 32.5% and the height exceeds the planning guidelines by 2.2m

“No where along the entire shores of Lake Macquarie is there a building or project that even goes close to resembling the bulk, height and scale that is proposed by this current application. We dispute that the variations on bulk and height are justified as being ‘in the public interest’. How can the proposed variation of a massive 32.5% be in the public interest when it will constrain the visual and recreational amenity of Toronto and the Lake Macquarie foreshore forever?”

The lack of notice provided to the community of the pending determination was another reason for calling of the site inspection which will be held 4:30pm, Thursday 20/9/18 on the site.

The final determination will go before the Councillors at the next council meeting on Monday 24th September, at 6:30pm. 

There will be a public forum address at 5:30pm as well. A great opportunity to see how the machinations of local government play out.

Treading lightly with big feet

The Living Smart Festival provides stalls and ideas on everything you ever wanted to know about treading lightly on the planet in a society that has one of the biggest footprints/population.

The fun day out is on Saturday 22/9/18 8am-2pm, a family-friendly event sharing ideas on how to adopt sustainable practices into everyday life.

Craig Reucassel, War On Waste ambassador will share his message at two presentations.

The festival will also feature free outdoor yoga classes, lost trades workshops, tiny house exhibitions, a native plant giveaway, electric vehicle displays, Raid My Wardrobe pop-up fashion event, sustainable cooking demonstrations and urban farming workshops.

Whether you want to be more sustainable at home, create ethically-produced meals for your family, revamp your wardrobe with pre-loved pieces, pick u your fruit and vege supplies or just enjoy a fun day out with the family, the Living Smart Festival is a super Saturday option to celebrate Spring and the renewal of a lighter lifestyle.

Planning our future LakeMac 2050 Strategy

Lake Mac 2050 will inform the development of all of Council’s strategies, policies, projects and proposals affecting the City, as well as its operational decisions. 

At the September Chamber meeting a question was put to council staff seeking clarification if the outcomes could be changed given the coucnil's support for multi-storey development proposals on the foreshore, the response was that if there was community input it could be changed...so please provide feedback to council.

The Lake Mac 2050 Strategy is open for community comment until 2/10/18. The following excerpt from p64 describes the TORONTO TOWN CENTRE PRECINCT.
  • The relationship between the waterfront and The Boulevard is improved 
  • The foreshore is rejuvenated, consistent with the cultural and heritage values of the foreshore area and the waterway, including appropriate small-scale commercial opportunities 
  • A town park provides a formal community focus and a place for workers, visitors and residents to gather or relax along The Boulevard, west of Pemell Street 
  • Walking and cycling in the centre and surroundings is safe and convenient, with connections to the Fassifern Greenway and recreational areas along Stony Creek 
  • The centre provides an interchange point for local buses to high-frequency, high-capacity ’spine’ services to major destinations and interchange points, such as Glendale, Belmont the University of Newcastle, Newcastle City Centre and John Hunter Hospital, as well as to the Fassifern train station
Comments can be made on forms or by surveys the website.

A letter has been drafted by CPPA supporting the recommendations and can be downloaded here

Toronto Foreshore Protection Group

What an amazing turnout! About 500 people filled Toronto High’s hall and eagerly listened to a presentation delivered by Bob Ireland outlining the community’s side of the Bath St development proposal (now available on the http://tfpg.org.au/- reference documents page).

Councillors Harrison and Pauling were both present to witness the crowd and take in the atmosphere, and provide their perspective on the proposed DA.

Clr Harrison highlighted the lessons learned from Warners Bay. No iconic foreshore building was required, all that was needed to boost the local business was the shared pathway, recreational facilities attracts people.

Clr Pauling stated he agreed with almost everything that was and that the Joint Regional Planning Authority would be the body to make the final decision. They would have to be convinced that the proposal was in the public interest.

Questions from the floor were put to various representatives of the TFPG.  Below is the one the CPPA addressed, others will be available on the tfpg.org.au website.

Question: This proposal is good for business, why are you against progress?

Answer: Progress is about moving society forward, it doesn’t have to come at a cost to the community or undermine the building blocks that got you there in the first place, it doesn’t make business sense to compromise the drawcard that attracts people to the area.

Council has identified large areas of Toronto for developers to build 3-4 and possibly more storeys. A review of Council’s Town Centre Area Plan Block Controls shows

  • The northern side of the Boulevard from Carey St to Victory Pde- 4 Storeys, the southern side 3-storey
  • The Aldi Car park 4 storeys
  • Carey St from McDonalds to The Boulevard mainly 4 storeys, but we’ve already seen a proposal for 5-6
  • 3 storeys up the eastern side of Pemell St
  • 4 storeys the western side of Carey St wrapping into James and Thorne St which also have 3 storeys block controls
So Toronto will definitely be open for business with lots of opportunities for residential and commercial enterprises, the population of Toronto is projected to increase by 20% in the next decade, business will be booming.

Business brings people, so all these new people will want to be able to walk and recreate in the area, the Lake is the drawcard and we need to be able to maximise that offering, it’s a small public space, relative to the rest of the city.

Council is the only agency that has the capacity and the charter to create public space, developers won’t do it, so let the developers develop their castles in the sky and lets encourage council to keep their feet on the ground. Bath St is the only public land available to increase the foreshore park for our community lets optimise it for community use. We’re all entitled to be able to see and enjoy the lake. That will keep people coming back to the area and wanting to live here.

A 4-6 storey building on Bath St is a business that benefits a few but denies many access to and the view of the Lake.

The final stage of the meeting was the adoption of three resolutions that will be presented to Councillors in October, along with the petition of over 4600 signatures.

The resolutions were;

  • that Lake Macquarie City Council has no community mandate to progress the Bath St / Victory Row development. 
  • that Council stop proceeding with the Bath St / Victory Row development and to include the site in the Foreshore Master Plan as an integral part of the Toronto foreshore park and 
  • that Council rezone and reclassify the Bath St / Victory Row site as community parkland. 
Congrats to the organizing committee but most of all for the people of Toronto for coming out in a show of unity to Save Our Toronto Foreshore Park

CPPA bits

Plants-a-plenty plenary.

Thanks to all the gardening enthusiasts that purchased plants. It was a successful endeavor and resulted in 884 plants being planted within the community. Proceeds from the sale allowed the CPPA to support the planting of a roadside verge (public land), add some native grasses to the West Ridge reserve and continue the transition of the Hall gardens to demonstrate the use of local native plants.

What’s new on the CPPA website

The feedback on Bonza Bushland Gardening Guide has been very positive. If you missed the guide or would like to download it has its own page, including videos of weed removal techniques on the CPPA website.

There is also a Photopoint & Monitoring report showing the changes in the reserves over the past six years on the Changes in Our Bigger backyard page

EEC in danger

A big thank you to Arthur who detected smoke early one morning and discovered a smoldering log in the Carey Bay Wetlands. He alerted firefighters who extinguished the fire, which had been deliberately lit.

An additional threat has come from the destruction of mature trees and the building of camps and structures in the Carey Bay Wetland area. Landcarers have been working hard to protect this Endangered Ecological Community, making it a pleasant place for all, but their good work is being undone and creating safety issues.

These threats are a risk to the bushland and the homes nearby. Items retrieved from the ‘camp site’ include spade, hammer, lighter and backpack, which have been reported to the Ranger.

The landcare crew are very grateful to a mystery mower-person for again cutting the grass alongside the Scout hall…it looks fantastic.