Monday, 9 October 2017

Hunter Intrepid Landcare visits Coal Point

by Callum Reedman
On Saturday the 23rd of September, Hunter Intrepid Landcare descended on the Coal Point Progress Association, to participate in the event: “Squirrel Glider Surveying and Spotlighting at Coal Point”, within the Ridgeline bush remnants of Coal Point.
The event brought 11 participants from all walks of life along to survey the Squirrel Glider population and replace fallen nest boxes. 
Monitoring was performed by climbing a ladder up to each box and peeping in to the Glider residence, an extremely cute and rewarding experience for us if perhaps a bit scary for the Gliders. 
We looked for the visible signs of habitation, as to whether the boxes contained green leaves, or old nest signs like that of brown/grey leaves, alongside whether animals were inside, and if so, how many. 
For most of the participants, this was the first time Squirrel Gliders had been viewed outside of posters, if at all, and it was certainly an exciting time to view not just 1, but ten of the endangered Squirrel Gliders across multiple next boxes with six occupying just one. Much excitement and photographs abounded. 
We also helped replace fallen boxes, which are needed to extend and replace the tree hollows that are critical habitat for the Squirrel Gliders. The locations of the replaced boxes were logged via GPS and will hopefully become a home to a growing Squirrel Glider population in the near future.
The event ran for approximately 6 hours, culminating in a spotlighting session that night, whereby the group along with local families, sought to see whether we’d be able to catch a glimpse of the Gliders from earlier on. 
While we didn’t find any Gliders, we did spot 3 possums and a Boo-Bok Owl that, with the unique experience of exploring the bush by torchlight and the great company of friends, made for a fun night.
Overall the event was a roaring success, having replaced 2, and checked 9 nesting boxes we found 10 gliders across 3 boxes and 1 box with Rosellas. 

An enormous thanks to the CPPA for inviting Hunter Intrepid Landcare to share the lovely wildlife gems which reside in their suburb’s backyard as part of the Threatened Species Last Stand on the Coal Point Peninsula project and to Chris Mclean for running the spotlighting event along the West  ridge. 

Dig In & Celebrate National Gardening Week 8-14 October 2017

The Inaugural National Gardening Week celebrates the simple joys of gardening and the environmental, social and health benefits it brings. Whether it be maintaining a few pots on a balcony, a suburban or a bushland backyard, the enjoyment, the improved mental and physical wellbeing and the satisfaction gardeners gain from ‘getting their hands dirty’ is universal.
  • Would you like to join a garden club? Toronto and Districts Garden Club Inc meet 3rd Thu 9.30am (Feb-Nov) Contact Doug Treloar 02 4959 1826 
  • Want to get involved with planning the local community garden? Visit the Scout Hall on Excelsior Parade. 
  • Feel like learning about gardening in the bush? Catch up with the landcare crew on Thursday any time from 8:30 till 1pm 
  • Plan your next garden makeover with a locally inspired landscape plan for slopes or to create a fire retardant garden from the resources on the CPPA website
  • Purchase a native plant. They for sale from $4.35 from the Landcare Resource Centre, 80 Toronto Rd, Booragul any Tuesdays, 8am-1pm. 
  • Add another dimension to your garden and create a habitat haven. 
The are some great ideas on the Backyard Buddies website such as
  • Add mulch - to encourage bugs which make great food for birds 
  • Add rocks and logs - to give skinks and frogs somewhere to hide 
  • Add a bird bath - as clean, fresh water will attract many buddies 
  • Add a nest box - to give a great home to a bird or mammal family 
  • Add locally native plants - as this provides excellent food, shelter, and nest sites 
  • Add an understory - to give small birds somewhere to hide in the shrubs and plants that grow under trees but above your groundcovers 
  • Add a frog pond - as frogs will love it, and other buddies will love a drink and a splash 
  • Add a cat run, or keep your cat indoors - to keep your backyard buddies safe 
And you don't have to do it all at once!

Your backyard buddies will appreciate any improvements you make, and it's awesome to watch your backyard evolving over time.


But one thing is for sure - if you build it, they will come.

Sustainable News

TASNG AGM

The AGM of the Toronto Area Sustainable Neighbourhood Group (TASNG) will be held on Wednesday (11 October) at 5 pm at the HUB (97-99 The Boulevarde, Toronto) and will be followed by the monthly meeting. All welcome!

TASNG would love to welcome new faces who would like to see our beautiful Toronto even more sustainable and thriving. Please let your friends and colleagues know.

If you would like to consider nominating for a committee position, feel free to contact TASNG Secretary (Lois Simpson) on 4959 5863 to find out more information. All positions are open!

Pamper Care Project

The LT Creek Sustainable Neighbourhood Group is working with the Woodrising Neighbourhood Centre to help people in West Lake Macquarie who are homeless or disadvantaged.

The Pamper Care Project collects donations of personal care products for distribution to those who need it most.

Donations can be taken to the drop off basket at the Blackalls Park Pie and Cake Shop.

Friendship Foreshore Picnic


Enjoy a friendly start to the weekend by getting to know your neighbours and local community members.

The first of these friendly affairs is a spring Community Picnic being held from 5.30pm onwards on Friday 10th November. 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.

Catherine Wroe- Wildlife carer

Very sadly, in early September I found one of the powerful owl chicks dead not too far from the water tank. It had been attacked - most likely from a fox... it may have come to ground because it was not well and then got attacked.... we can't be sure... The good news was that I saw both parents and the other young last week, so fingers crossed that this one makes it.

Care to comment on what you want our community to contain?

We live in a very picturesque lakeside community which is beginning to suffer from the increasing impacts of STHL. Our local amenity and the neighbourliness of the place we call home is under threat from non-resident business enterprises.
Unlike city-based STHL where visitors go out to enjoy the surrounding area, our lakeside community is the destination point where the visitors recreate and relax at the venue, bringing in the necessary supplies to lubricate their enjoyment of the area.
The Coal Point-Carey Bay area is a residential zone that has always had a number of onsite host B&Bs that have quietly co-existed amongst the community generating an income stream for the owners and supporting local businesses. This permissible usage in a residential zoning is accepted. 
The rise of online booking systems and investor-owner income streams for absentee hosts is changing the nature of the clientele and the community impacts. Without a host on site the arrangement constitutes a serviced apartment, as such it is not permissible in a residential zone. 
It is incompatible to have tourist-zone impacts in a residential area not designed for such. The increasing number of Party Houses comes with an increased number of people for which the house was not designed, accompanying excess noise, and additional impacts on parking and privacy of residents. These tourist zone impacts compromise the amenity and ambience of a family-centric neighbourhood. 
To avoid the increasing impacts of STHL on a residential community of neighbours the following position is being proposed on the Options Paper. 
  • Industry regulation is required as self-regulation by non-resident hosts is a conflict of interest
  • There needs to be a planning framework to protect the intent of residentially zoned land
  • A metropolitan approach is warranted as the region transitions to Hunter City
  • 30 day annual limits for non-resident hosts will ensure community amenity is maintained
  • The amenity and privacy of existing community of residents and families should not be compromised by solely business enterprises in a residential zone. 
There is a letter detailing these options available on the website to download and submit to The Director of Housing Policy.

Other feedback options on the NSW Planning & Environment website include a submission form, or a survey to complete.

Submissions due by 31/10/17


Director Housing Policy
Department of Planning and Environment
GOP Box 39
Sydney NSW 2001

Short Term Holiday Letting (STHL):

Response to the Options Paper Short Term Holiday Letting in NSW (July 2017)

Thank you for the opportunity to provide a submission to Short Term Holiday Letting (STHL) in NSW Options Paper July 2017
As a resident of a very picturesque lakeside community I am concerned about the increasing impacts of STHL on the local amenity and neighbourliness of a place I call home.
Unlike city-based STHL where visitors go out to enjoy the surrounding area, our lakeside community is the destination point where the visitors recreate and relax at the venue, bringing in the necessary supplies to lubricate their enjoyment of the area.
The Coal Point-Carey Bay area is a residential zone that has always had a number of onsite host B&Bs that have quietly co-existed amongst the community generating an income stream for the owners and supporting local businesses. This permissible usage in a residential zoning is accepted.
The rise of online booking systems and investor-owner income streams for absentee hosts is changing the nature of the clientele and the community impacts. Without a host on site the arrangement constitutes a serviced apartment, as such it is not permissible in a residential zone. It is incompatible to have tourist-zone impacts in a residential area not designed for such. The increasing number of Party Houses are often excessively loud, accommodate an increased number of people for which the house is not designed which impacts on parking and privacy. These tourist zone impacts compromise the amenity and ambience of a family-centric neighbourhood.
To avoid the increasing impacts of STHL on a residential community of neighbours I offer the following recommendations on the Options Paper.

Industry Regulation is required.

All businesses have some form of industry regulation. The more the industry impacts on those around its field of operation the greater the level of industry compliance required.
As STHL is operating in a residential zone the impacts on the surrounding families needs to be regulated. Self-regulation will not affect a solution to the problems associated with having tourists impacting on a residential zone.
An independent government body that has the capacity to monitor the occupancy levels, enforce compliance and issue fines is required, as would be expected of any business that operates at the scale and spread of the STHL industry.

Regulation through the Planning System

People purchase a house in a low or medium density residential zone because they desire the amenity and friendliness associated with familiarity of neighbours and a home context, otherwise they would live in a business or tourist zone.  It is unreasonable to change the nature and the expectations of the zoning to accommodate solely business enterprises.
If SHTL is to be a part of the residential schema then it is imperative that the values and amenity of the residential zoning are maintained. This could be achieved by having Complying, Exempt and Prohibited regulation criteria as outlined below.
Exempt Development would be when the STHL
·       Is registered and has a licence
·       The owners live on site
·       There are no more than 4 guests on site at any one time
Complying Development would be when the STHL
·       Is registered and have licence
·       The owners do not live on site
·       There are no more than four (4) guests on site.
·       The use is limited to 30 nights per year 
Development Application would be when
·       The owners do not live on site
·       There are more than 4 guests on site
·       The host wants to operate greater than 30 days per year
Prohibited Development (In Residential Zones)
More than ten (10) guests on site should be prohibited in residential zones as – this is getting to the size where guests should be accommodated in Tourist Zones.

A Metropolitan approach

The options paper aims to differentiate between metropolitan and regional areas. With the transition of our area to ‘Hunter City’ the metropolitan criteria should be applied, as it is inconsistent to be touting the area to be metropolitan and the second largest city in NSW on one hand, but still allowing a regional context in which to develop and promote business on the other.  

30 Day Limits to the number of total days per year

In a residential zone there is an expectation that you will be able to enjoy the amenity and solitude of your home. Within this context one has to consider how much disruption to privacy and amenity is reasonable.
I would suggest as part of complying development no more than 30 days be acceptable. This is still almost every fortnight, or once a month, which would be a significant impost on neighbours.
Limiting visitor days is consistent with standards adopted in cities around the world and AirBnB’s own data which states majority of hosts made their properties available for 25 nights each year, on average, and generated about $4500 of income”.

The Community Ethic of STHL

AirBnB founder Brian Chesky states “At the heart of our mission is the idea that people are fundamentally good and every community is a place where you can belong”.
It is fundamental to our community that all who have chosen to live here on a permanent basis still feel that they belong, know their neighbours and can enjoy a home that they have emotionally and financially invested in.
On-site hosts provide continuity of community context.  Non-resident investor driven hosting is compromising the integrity of our community.

In summary

  • Industry regulation is required as self-regulation by non-resident hosts is a conflict of interest
  • There needs to be a planning framework to protect the intent of residentially zoned land
  • A metropolitan approach is warranted as the region transitions to Hunter City
  • 30 day annual limits for non-resident hosts will ensure community amenity is maintained
  • The amenity and privacy of existing community of residents and families should not be compromised by solely business enterprises in a residential zone.
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Ride2Work

R2W Wednesday 18/10/17

Over 77% of trips are taken by car in Lake Mac but the community says it wants more bike and foot options. A chance to put your best feet forward and into action is looming with National Ride2Work Day on Oct 18th . Once you’ve done it you may want to do it again…with friends. 
Riding to work is one of the easiest and most time-efficient ways to fit exercise into a daily routine. By swapping the car, train or bus for a bike, you can get your recommended daily exercise without having to spend extra time or money at the gym… and you’ll be happier and healthier for it! 

A better network for cycling and connected footpaths is part of LMCC’s plans for the future.