Sunday, 22 April 2018

Save Our Foreshore Park at Toronto

Community and service groups within the Toronto area are strongly opposed to LMCC's proposal to develop the Toronto foreshore – Bath Street land for commercial and tourist operations.

Seven options were put forward by LMCC’s Property Investment Committee on April 9th including doing nothing, building 2,4 or 6 levels of accommodation/retail, a joint venture with RMYC and allocating the land for community purposes as part of the foreshore masterplan redesign.

LMCC’s preferred option is to develop the valuable foreshore land into 4 levels of tourist accommodation and retail space.

The community groups preferred option is to not proceed with any redevelopment and allocate the land for community purposes of consolidation into their overall foreshore masterplan redesign in 2018/19.

The reasons supporting the community option are :

Historical Intent

  • Previous elected Councils of Lake Macquarie (and most of the State) have worked hard to acquire foreshore land for the establishment of Parkland in these sensitive waterfront areas. Council’s own policies and State Government Legislation is aimed at protecting the immediate foreshore zone. 
  • Lake Macquarie Council acquired a significant number of private foreshore properties in this nominated area (many of these displaced people still live nearby) on the understanding that the land acquisition was for the betterment of the Community and to become Parkland. 

Community Service

  • Council is the only agency that has the legislative capacity to acquire and provide for community parkland. If this land is developed it will be lost to the community. 
  • The Community, through Landcare and Local Service Clubs with grants from public monies has worked hard to improve this subject area as Parkland. 
  • The Foreshore Park is regularly utilised by the community, for markets special events and increasingly active recreation. The overcrowding and associated car parking problems experienced at the events, detract from the benefits of the community experiences. 
  • The $1million of rate payers money to develop LMCC’s proposal to DA stage would be better spent on improving community services and supporting existing businesses instead of increasing the pressure and demand on existing infrastructure 

Parking for recreational activities

  • Toronto currently suffers from an inadequate number of car parking spaces and a section of the subject land on Bath Street, located well back from the waterfront, provides informal parking for residents visiting and working in the Toronto Township and utilizing local facilities. 
  • Throughout Lake Macquarie where boat ramps exist there is provision for parking. The informal parking currently provided at Bath Street supports the local community to pursue aquatic and recreational activities and untimed parking. 

Provision for Population growth

  • Council’s figures show Toronto will experience a 20% growth in population to an estimated 36,899 by the year 2030. LMCC’s Development Contributions Plan for Toronto (p31) states the future population will “generate additional demand for open space and recreation facilities and this demand will require additional open space and embellishment of existing facilities to cater for the increased pressures on those existing facilities.” 
  • The Toronto Town Centre Plan (p5) states that Toronto “is not served well by pedestrian connection or adequate gathering places”. In comparison to other lakeside townships Toronto has one the least amounts of public foreshore available for recreation with approx. 200m sealed and 300m of track for pedestrians. 
    • Warners Bay has 8.9km of pedestrian - bike track from Eleebana to Booragul 
    • Belmont has 440m of constructed lakeside path 
    • Rathmines has 1.8km of track and path along the foreshore 
    • Wangi has more than 4km foreshore publically accessible 
    • Morisset peninsula is well catered for with more than 6km of public foreshore 
  • As a major service centre with a higher than average age limit, flat accessible walking surfaces are key to positive ageing and maintaining mobility. 

Non compliance with DCP Town Centre Area Plan

  • LMCC plans include putting a road across the railway/cycleway to connect Arnott Avenue to the Victory Pde roundabout. This would deactivate the public land and create a barrier at the entrance to Toronto’s Public land and runs contrary to LMCC’s Town Centre Area Plan which states “development proposals must not disturb or otherwise alter the landform related to the construction and operation of the Toronto-Fassifern rail line 
  • The vista from Victory Parade and Bath St according to LMCC’ Toronto Centre Area Plan ‘should not be detracted from’ by the scale height and form of future development. LMCC’s 4-level proposal is not compatible with the residential scale of historical development along the lake foreshore a requirement of the DCP Area plans for Toronto (p11).

There's lots you can do to help!

  • Make  a personal comment on the flyer and send it off to council
  • Write or ring the Councillors. Discussion points and councillor contacts are here.
  • Print this petition and help gather signatures to present to the Councillors.
  • Sign the online petition and can circulate it to your friends 

The Council's report on the Toronto Foreshore & Bath Street Property Development Potential contains the details of the LMCC proposal and recommendations.


Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Mega Mural Creation Celebration

Want to have a go at creating street-art on the walls of a water reservoir? Looking for something to do during the school holidays?

A chance to develop street-art skills, participate in a community artwork and highlight the awesomeness of the local bushland is happening on Tuesday 17th April.

The mega-mural is being spray painted during Youth Week and aims to feature local plants and animals.

Local street artist Graffiti Dan will be onsite to show the skills needed for street-art, there is information about what plants and animals can be painted on the CPPA website.

Spray painting is fun but the stuff the spray paints are made of have some very harsh chemicals in them, so we have to take safety very seriously.

All paint and personal protective gear (PPG) is provided. The PPG must be worn to participate.

To ensure safety participants must wear long sleeved shirt, long pants, covered shoes and a hat to prevent paint drifting on to skin and clothes.

Personal protective gear supplied includes

  • eye shields to protect eyes, 
  • plastic poncho to protect skin and clothes, 
  • plastic gloves to protect skin and 
  • a respirator to prevent breathing in paint fumes 

Two mural painting sessions will be held on Tuesday 17th April, 9am-noon and 1-4pm. There will be a BBQ as well. Bookings are essential so we know how many people to expect and cater for.


Information about what plants and animals to paint are on the CPPA website

If you’d like to lend a hand on the day with the organising of the event there’s bound to be something to do. Please contact Suzanne.

Thank you to all the sponsors and supporters for making this project happen.



Art & Craft Show Entry Forms now available

Ahoy all artists, calling all crafters. 

Entry forms for the Art & Craft Show are now available for downloading off the website or picking up at First National Real Estate-Toronto or Morisset.

This year we are anticipating a huge variety of fine art and locally crafted items as prizes are on offer and space is definitely limited so early entry forms will secure your spot.

For more information about the prizes and proceedings visit the Art & Craft Show webpage.

Enquiries can be directed to Barbara on 0409 839 428 or artandcraftcppa@gmail.com







Plants-a-Plenty orders due 30/4/18

Autumn is a great time to plant with rain guaranteed at some point before the summer heat hits. The CPPA is coordinating a bulk purchase of plants at a discounted rate to support locals in their native gardening endeavours and to raise funds for the local landcare activities.

There are plants for all garden areas including edges, hedges, quick covering climbers, plants you can sit on, no mow grasses and bird attracting berry producers.

Native plants, especially ones local to our area are well suited to our local climate, require much less water than exotic plants and support the local wildlife.

The native plants-a-plenty can be bought as individuals or as a ‘plant pack’, 3 for $10. There is an order form on the website , which will provide us with a good idea of how many plants to order.

ARE YOU A MUSIC LOVER?

More specifically do you like the thought of experiencing an international artist alongside a national artist with a local supporting artist? 


The CPPA is assessing the viability of bringing the Small Halls Festival to Progress Hall in February 2019 and need to know if there are 120 people willing to pay $25 for the pleasure.

The Festival of Small Halls Australia is a series of tours that take the best folk and contemporary acoustic artists performing at two large festivals and sends them on the road to tiny halls in communities all over Australia. It’s an opportunity for music-lovers from welcoming communities to invite artists from home and abroad into their towns, and a way of exploring this vast country in the spirit of hospitality and great fun.

The festival is produced by Woodfordia Inc whose mission is to: stimulate, facilitate and foster the preservation and promotion of folk culture for the common good.

Expression of Interest to attend are being sought via an online survey or a phone call (0438596741) or a postcard, post it note, carrier pigeon or snail-mail to the CPPA to determine if the event is financially viable.

AGM OUTCOMES

It seems like a long time ago but last month the AGM of the CPPA went off without a hitch, with an enthusiastic Committee re-elected to continue overseeing the activities of the Association and maintaining a community space around Progress Hall. 

The Committee are :
  • President/Secretary - Suzanne Pritchard
  • Vice President - John Gill
  • Treasurer - Ian Dennison
  • Newsletter Coordination- Tony Dynon
  • Membership - Robyn Garrett
  • Local Landcare - Robyn Gill
  • General Committee - Harvey Mitchell
The Annual Report can be viewed online which details the activities of the Association over the past 12 months. Here’s a summary


A Commendable & Committed Committee

The Committee met 10 times between April 2017-March 2018 and donated over 770hr of time and expertise to the running of the Association.


Progress Hall

A well thought through plethora of options to enhance the long-term financial sustainability of the CPPA by reducing expenses associated with the Hall have come to fruition in the past year, culminating in the sale of some of the backyard to expand the local reserve.


Finalised Funding:

The Science of Sustainability Science Week extravaganza gave 656 people a chance to experience Questacon’s Earth Quest exhibit, explore an observational trail in the local bushland and enjoy Scinema short film festival

Community Building Partnership - TASNG- Footpath connectivity from Ambrose St to Jarret St completed in June and is being well patronised.

Hunter Water provided $6000 towards bush regeneration and a National Tree Day planting on their land, greatly supporting the landcaring efforts on the West Ridge


Submissions

  • Short-term holiday letting (STHL) was a focus for several months due to the potential impact the changing of zonings to permit this activity could have on the neighbourliness of the community. 
  • Land & Environment Court- 2 Brighton to 133 Excelsior Pde. 
  • DA 1865/2017 - 20 Laycock St- 22Units 
  • DA1835/2016-(Amended) 151-155 Brighton Ave- 44units and amended DA for 37 units– flyer produced for both applications 


Community Communication

There were 11 editions of the Coal Point Chronicle produced in the past year. The sponsorship spaces were well subscribed throughout the year averaging 18 paid spaces. The CPPA Facebook page has 162 likes, up from 93 last year.


A Huge number of Thank-Yous

  • To John Gill for his tireless work as Treasurer for the past six years 
  • To our numerous supporters -the ongoing regular sponsors who support / advertise in the monthly Coal Point Chronicle. Without our sponsorship income it would be impossible for us to tackle the projects we do, or possibly even to remain financially viable. 
  • Special mention to the NSW Environmental Trust, which funds the Threatened Species project, and to Origin Energy who provided $4000 to support Science week, and $6000 to paint the Hunter Water tank 
  • To our regular hall hirers, Yoga Circle, and more recently the World Shimjang Taekwondo Academy 
  • To Alan Fletcher, our volunteer auditor, who has this year, as in many past years, reviewed and reported on the financial statements of the association 
  • To all the members who have added a donation along with their membership fee/renewal. 


Financial Highlights

Our four major income items are, as in previous years:
  • member subscriptions (and especially donations which many members include) 
  • other donations, from the local community and businesses 
  • sponsors who support the Chronicle, and 
  • hall hire 
Our solar panels/system were installed on 5 October 2016, and have been able to feed
power to the grid since then. For the full 2017 calendar year, we have generated 6149kWh of energy, and consumed 970kWh. Our net electricity cost for the full year has dropped from $976 in 2016 to $571 for 2017.

The boost to our savings from the land sale will be very welcome, and we hope to generate at least some income from our savings via the use of term deposits. We also plan to re-visit our insurance needs, to ensure our renewals are a good fit. We hope our long term hall hirers will continue, and we hope to improve the attractiveness of the hall by having more systematic cleaning and maintenance, based on two major working bees each year, plus interim cleaning approx monthly, hopefully by volunteers.


The Threatened Species Last Stand project

With five years of well attended landcaring sessions, additional time by enthusiastic
individuals, support from professional bush regenerators and a fire, the on-ground outcomes are evident and some of the reserves on a trajectory towards recovery and less intensive maintenance, freeing up time for the reserves that require more attention.

Flora surveys have provided detailed information on the local vegetation. Six years of bird surveys have been undertaken. This information will be used during the final year as inspiration for artistic endeavours by youth, in painting the water reservoir and for adults to inspire entries in the Art and Craft show, where the CPPA is offering prize money for entries under a Threatened Species category.

The financial support provided to the Landcare crew in the way of tools, PPE, morning tea and fuel subsidy for the Novocastrians who carpool to the sites has been highly beneficial to the onground outcomes. Fundraising efforts will be required to continue this level of support after the project finishes.

DA UpDAte

LAND & ENVIRONMENT COURT FINDINGS
View of tree canopy on the site from Carey Bay

On the 28th March, Commissioner Dickson of the Land and Environment Court handed down her decision on DA/1243/2016 that proposed nineteen dwelling houses and the removal of hundreds of trees spanning 2 Brighton Avenue to 133 Excelsior Parade.

The appeal was dismissed and the DA refused.

Following is a summarised account of the findings from the decision, which can be viewed at https://www.caselaw.nsw.gov.au/decision/5ab84170e4b087b8baa87e42#_Ref508973024

Central to the proceedings, and an assessment of the suitability of the proposed development against the relevant planning instruments, were the issues of tree removal and retention.

In the determination is was stated that “there were inconsistencies and uncertainty in relation to the assessment of the significance of the existing trees and the proposed number and location of trees to be retained on the site for the proposed DA.”

It was also stated that the developer’s visual impact assessment did not accurately reflect the trees nominated to be retained. This uncertainty of tree retention reduced the weight of the developer’s conclusion that the tree loss would have a moderate visual impact. The Commissioner stated “several trees were visible from the street and surrounding areas and made a positive contribution to the visual character and amenity of the area and some of these trees have similar characteristics under Age Structure and Health as those identified as having high retention value”, hence the nomination of ‘high retention value’ trees by the applicant was likely to be incomplete.

The Commissioner was not satisfied that the proposed retained trees were in logical positions that provided cluster that would be visible from the lake and continue to mark the ridgeline.

The Commissioner acknowledged that “a photomontage view of the development from the Lake would assist in understanding the development’s visual impact but the lack of certainty in relation to tree retention and replanting hampered the ability to assess with certainty any long-term visual impact that would arise from the development”.

Commissioner Dickson found that “it was clear from photomontage, a review of the plans and the site inspection that the application proposed insufficient retention of canopy trees, especially on the ridge that transverses the site to ameliorate the visual impact of the development”. On the basis of the evidence before the Court she did not accept the submission of the developer’s expert that “at completion the development would have the same fundamental elements or characteristics or that it would present as a medium-density development nestled underneath canopy trees”, additionally the replacement planting proposed was insufficient in number.

Following an assessment of the photographs of the site provided, the Commissioner did not accept the evidence from the developer’s expert “that the development achieves the relevant guidelines of the Toronto Landscape Setting, namely to not dominate views from the Lake or breach the tree line of surrounding ridges.”

The determination identified “there was a strong consistency within the submissions received from the public. Many raised concerns about the visual impact of the proposed development on the locality and in particular the impact on scenic amenity of the proposed tree removal. These submissions were taken into consideration in the assessment of the application”.

The findings also stated “the detrimental impacts of the tree removal associated with the development were sufficient to warrant refusal of the application” and “the impact of the proposed development on the visual amenity of the locality sufficiently detrimental to warrant refusal of the application.”

From the documentation provided the Commissioner could see that “the strategic intent of the Council is to preserve the character of specific localities within the Lake Macquarie area and maintain and enhance the scenic value of its natural features”. The Commissioner did not accept the evidence of the developer’s experts that “the current application represents an appropriate balance between the planned intent of the site to provide medium density accommodation and tree retention”.

The Commissioner found that “the subject proposal results in unacceptable environmental impacts, the development fails to meet the objectives of the R3 zoning to maintain or enhance the residential amenity and character of the surrounding area.”

The Commissioner found that “there is a range of the planning controls and site constraints that influence development on any site. These may have the effect of “reading down” the yield that would otherwise be possible on the site if zoning (or the principal development standards) in the LEP were relied on in isolation…The provisions in SEPP 71 and the more general planning provisions in LEP 2014 and DCP 2014 all apply and need to be considered in the preparation of a development application.”

Commissioner Dickson found that “pursuant to s 4.15(1)(c) of the Act that the site is unsuitable for the development proposed and warrants refusal.”