Sunday, 29 November 2009

What’s on in December

  • Transition Town Steering Group Strategic Planning session Sunday 6th 9am-1pm– 23 Whitelock Street 
  •  Monthly meeting of the Progress AssociationMonday 7th 7-9pm,Progress Hall, 197 Skye Point Rd 
  • Landcare- Stansfield Reserves –Thursday 3rd  with LRO Green Team volunteers at  the end of Stansfield Close 
  • Landcare Christmas Party—Thursday 17th  at 11am, Landcare Resource Office, Toronto Road Teralba

Progress Patter

It's been a great and very fast year Progress-wise, moving in some new directions, incorporating more social activities and generally getting back in to the swing of things. It's also the time of year where memberships fall due so look out for the renewal notice coming to a letterbox near you. Included will also be an extra membership form,maybe your neighbour would like to join up.

The Progress Association has been working for the betterment of the Coal Point community since 1946, a long a credible history. There is a role for the organisation as long as there is support from the people it represents. The more members we have the stronger the voice.
Sincerest thanks goes out to all for the support throughout the year and the feedback on how the organisation is travelling. The Progress Association wishes all the community a safe and peaceful festive season, full of fond memories and happiness.

The 7th December monthly meeting will commence at 7pm and discuss the Department of Housing Application at Carey Bay, the Toronto town figs, the leash free dog area, funding options for Landcare projects and hall maintenance projects for a Work for the Dole team?sounds like an interesting meeting.

Coal Point Transition Town Steering Group

The Transition Town Steering group will be having a strategic planning session on Sunday 6th December, 9am-1pm at 23 Whitelock Street, Ian's place.

This meeting is to determine an awareness raising program for 2010, have a look at the skill set of the group, consider the meeting times and look at how we communicate our message to the rest of the community.

All interested people are welcome to attend but there is a catch, you need to have read the Transition Town Primer ,  so that we all have the same understanding of the process and what the big picture goals are, i.e how to create a locally resilient community to address the twin challenges of peak oil and climate change.

The In Transition-the movie screening held in early November was a successful and exciting 1st event for the group. Twenty-four people found out a bit more about the Transition movement, a few more people have joined the growing group, and a super supper was supplied courtesy of Bakers Delight

Toronto's Trees

Where do you stand on the trees of Toronto town?

The Lakes Mail has been raising awareness over the past few weeks on the possible fate of the Toronto figs. The issue has been described as one that will divide the community, but how will it be divided, it's a little bit more than Treehuggers v's treeloppers.

It could be divided by personal comfort factors?
  • People who enjoy sitting in the shade or those that like sweltering whilst they dine in the sun.
  • People who like walking along a shady and cooler boulevard or those that like to tan and feel the heat radiating off the footpath.
  • People who like to window shop with the sun on their back, or those that like to linger longer in the shade.
It could be divided by cost?
  • Business owners whose air conditioners don?t have to work as hard because of the extensive shade coverage or those business owners who like to hear the hum or the air-con cranking, and pay accordingly.
  • Businesses who are prepared to pay thousands of dollars to remove the trees or those that will pay to treat the pipes to prevent root growth and blockages and keep the trees.
Or maybe it will divide along the lines of those with a more natural bent?
  • Those who think a tree lined boulevard is aesthetically appealing and makes Toronto unique or those that don?t.
  • People who appreciate the birdlife and the rarity of the roosting trees or those that see the birds as noise and mess.
On this point there are some places like Currumbin Bird Sanctuary in Queensland and more closer to home the Wetlands Centre that make money off encouraging bird and people interaction, such as breakfast with the birds. Perhaps the Toronto Chamber could investigate getting some funding to promote this rare attraction?

And has anyone considered where will the birds roost if all the trees go? The lorikeets that need these trees are the ones that frequent our gardens and make our backyards buzz with life and are a part of our bushland suburb.

This is a very similar situation to what?s happening with the Laman Street Figs in Newcastle, a quick fix solution is being touted by a few without a full investigation of a variety of options and the impacts on the many who have not been given a chance to voice their opinion.

Make your views known to the Toronto Chamber of Commerce, PO Box 382 ,Toronto 2283,  Phone 4950 5216, Email   and Lake Macquarie City Council Postal Address: Box 1906 Hunter Region Mail Centre 2310 or

This issue will also be discussed at the monthly meeting of the Progress Association on Monday 7th December 7pm.

New Affordable Housing to be built in Carey Bay

Department of Housing has lodged plans to build six one-bedroom units on 48 Excelsior Parade, just a few houses down from Laycock Street intersection. The single bedroom units are social housing usually allocated to frail and elderly singles or couples. 

The units are being built under the Federal Government?s Nation Building Economic Stimulus program.

The local Department of Housing Manager, Donna Hinchcliff will be attending the February Progress meeting to discuss the process of how affordable housing is allocated within the community and address any concerns.

Ms Hinchcliff is keen to hear from the community about any points regarding the design of the units so that the best possible outcome can be achieved.

You can make a phone call, 43 529 655 to talk or send an email to  to ensure all issues are noted and considered.

The plans are currently on exhibition and open for comment at LMCC and details will be available at the Progress Associations monthly meeting for discussion.

Blackalls Against the Mine update, The finish line is in sight,
You may remember:
1. Frank Sartor's 2007 promise to permanently ban new open-cut mines in the Lake Macquarie area.
2. Frank Sartor's claim that he changed the State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) to enable that promise.
3. Centennial's attempt to circumvent this promise with its Olstan Project.
4. The State Government's refusal to rule on the validity of Centennial?s proposal.
5. The State Government ignoring our two letters to them transmitting the motions moved at BAM's last two meetings.
6. The State Government's recent introduction of a new change to the SEPP, which in our view made it easier to circumvent Sartor's promise.

From the above it is clear that the SEPP is no use in giving the protection Sartor promised. It can be changed at the Planning Minister's whim.
To give us better protection, our local State member, Greg Piper has prepared a Private Members Bill which, if passed will put the open-cut ban into Law as an Act and not just planning policy. This means that if passed, it cannot be changed at the whim of a minister. It will require another piece of legislation, and its attendant parliamentary debate to change.

The essence of the bill is on better definitions of underground and surface coal mining where surface coal mining means the operation of a coal mine that is not an underground mine and underground mine means a coal mine in which persons are employed beneath the earth's surface when the mine is being worked and in which the working environment is completely enclosed by the geologic medium.

The Bill reiterates the prohibition of surface coal mining in Lake Macquarie City except for the existing Westside open cut mine.

To get the Bill passed we need to lobby politicians to vote for the Bill.
Contact  Paul Moors  for more information on how you can help the Bill being passed. Or put pen to paper and send Greg Piper a letter of support to 92 Victory Parade,TORONTO NSW 2283 or Email:
A copy to the surrounding State MPs would also be effective, coal dust doesn't recognise boundaries.
Mr David

Tidy Town Triumphs

Congratulations to Coal Point Public School on winning the Tidy Town Schools Environmental Award for the dry creek bed project. Toronto Tidy Towns won a first place award for the Turning Toronto Green campaign, promoting plastic bag free shopping and were highly commended for the overall Tidy Town Award. The white reusable shopping bags are available for free from the Toronto library.

Historical Film night

Fifty locals attended the highly entertaining and very informative historical film night held recently at the hall thanks to the Hunter Cine-Sound Society.  Some of the films included amazing footage from the Maitland floods, early 1900's Newcastle parades, the role of coal in shaping the Newcastle Region and a more recent documentary on the return of the Catalina sea-plane to Rathmines. A donation of $103 was collected from those present to support the Catalina fundraising campaign. The photographic display from the Historical Society was very impressive too.

The evening also provided a chance for locals to catch up with familiar faces and share some very tasty treats courtesy of Bakers Delight. Another film night will be planned for 2010.


The Landcare Office is now located near the Teralba round about, Toronto Road.  

The phone number is 4921 0392 and email is
Thur 17 Dec: Xmas Party - 11am - Come and share this special day with us.
Fri 18 Dec: Landcare Office Closes for summer break
Wed 27 Jan: Landcare Office Opens - Welcome to a brand new year.

Toronto & Districts Garden Club

The next meeting will be at the Scout hall, 74 Excelsior Parade, Toronto on Thursday, 19th February 2010 from 9.30am to 12.30pm.

There will be a speaker talking about rotating veggies. Don't forget to bring a chair if you can, a mug (no, that doesn't mean your spouse!) and your name badge if you have it at home please ... and of course bring your friends, neighbours and rellies and some goodies for the trading table.

Our next visit out, is to the Constable garden, vineyard and winery at Pokolbin on February 26. It is at 205 Gillards Rd, Pokolbin, with cellar door sales.

Some topics that are being considered for the 2010 program are herbs & their uses, weeds, soil  & preparation, water wise gardening, chooks bees & possums, gardening in pots, propagation beyond ,no -dig garden, fruit trees, succulents, home remedies, roses ,climbers,flowers in a vase, grasses & foliage, landscape design &  architecture,painting flowers and bulbs for warm climes.

Contact Jan Hissey for more details

Landcare For Youth (L4Y)

The Landcare for Youth program aims to support young people from preschool to University to design and implement on-ground Landcare projects to develop an ethic of stewardship towards the land. The project also aims to develop networks for the youth and the teachers/carers supporting them. L4Y is being implemented by Trees In Newcastle.

Anywhere in Lake Macquarie where young people gather is eligible for support, Scouts, Guides, sailing clubs, schools of any flavour, preschools and playgroups. The support comes in the form of onground advice to help design the project and plants to put in the ground.
If you know of a school, preschool, TAFE or youth group in Lake Macquarie that would like to undertake an on-ground project or help to build the L4Y network, let Jenny at TIN know, ph 4969 1500 or There are resource request forms on TIN's website
The L4Y-Landcare For Youth project is funded by the Environmental Trust and supported by Lake Macquarie City Council and Lake Macquarie Landcare Inc

Laman Street Figs

Whether you live in Newcastle or not, most people in the region have visited the Regional Art Gallery, visited Civic Park and been impressed by the colonnade of figs majestically lining Laman Street and framing the backdrop of the cultural precinct, making a cultural statement that trees do have pride of place in this city and in this region.

In two weeks Newcastle City Council is going to vote on a motion to fell the Hills figs on Laman Street. Please make a stand so these figs can stay.

Actions you can take include writing to the Newcastle Councillors, writing a letter to the newspapers, or take 20 seconds to complete an online petition at

The petitions urge and implore council to delay the removal of the trees until a community design panel can be formed by council to consider arboricultural advice, the relevant resources and risk issues and the full range of options available to council and the community to address the future of these trees and make appropriate recommendations to council.

Monday, 2 November 2009

What’s On In November

  • Monday  2nd 7-9pm : Monthly meeting of the Progress Association Progress Hall All Welcome
  • Saturday Nov 7th Coal Point School Fete
  • Saturday  7th 7pm-In Transition the Movie at Progress Hall
  • Sat 7-Sun 8th Smart Energy Expo- Newcastle Town Hall
  • Landcare reserve this month  Gurranba (foreshore) *5th with Green Team
  • Lake Macquarie Landcare Inc. Annual General Meeting Tuesday 10th November 2009 4.30pm to 6.30pm at the new Landcare Resource Centre, Toronto Road, Teralba. Nomination forms and enquiries, ph 4921 0392
  • Transition Town Steering Group meets 3rd Monday of the month 16th Nov 4-6pm
  • Saturday 21st  7-9.30pm Historical Film Night at Progress Hall-All welcome
  • Artists creative and social gathering every Thursday at Progress Hall, 1pm Contact Judy Cummings for more information on 49504680
  • Toronto & District Garden Club meets at 3rd Thursday of the month. 19th November is a ramble through a member’s garden at Arcadia Vale, Bring a plate of food to share for Xmas, a mug and a chair if you can. Trading table and raffle. Contact Jan Hissey 49591382 or Kim Weller 4950 5707 for more location details
  • December Landcare-Stansfield Reserves –*3rd  with Green Team volunteers at  the end of Stansfield Close

Memories, light the corners of my mind, … misty watercolour memories of the way we were. (Barbara Streisand)

Not so much water colour but black and white memories will be on show at the historical film night being held at Progress Hall on Saturday 21st November 7pm- 9.30pm with supper available.

The previously advertised date of the 7th of November has had to be rescheduled to the 21st due to the Newcastle and Hunter CineSound Society, having another booking. They offered their sincerest apologies.

If you’d like to lose yourself in the yesteryears of the 1940-1950s for a few hours, get a glimpse of what was making the news in Lake Macquarie in 1948 and peruse the Lake Macquarie Historical Society’s display, $5 will be all you need to slip back in time and relax.

There’ll be plenty of seats available at the door but if you’d like to sit in the front rows you can reserve a spot. Call Jean 4959 4019 or Barbara 4959 1259

Are you a member?

It’s getting to that time of year when you start to wonder where did it go, what did I do and is the Christmas cake already baked? In the mind of the Progress Association the end of the year is a time of renewal…membership renewal, and with the renewing of memberships is the thought of how to service the membership more effectively.

There has been a bit of discussion around the monthly meeting table this year regarding how to engage and communicate more effectively with the members of the association specifically, and the broader community more generally. There was a strong feeling that there is more that can be done than the monthly print only Chronicles and there are more ways of getting feedback from the community than return surveys.

The new era of social networking that the internet has delivered has amazing potential to connect the community and provide a vehicle to share our common vision for the community and the activities that are available. This year when the membership renewals come out there will also be a request for an email address.

Are you a member…is your neighbour?. At a very reasonable $6/person or $10/family, membership is one way to support the activities of the Progress Association.

A Walkable neighbourhood?

The Coal Point area is a beautiful place with a long history. Over time there have been many tracks created to and through the bushland reserves and numerous points made to access the waterfront. Some are council owned therefore public access ways for community use and others have drainage purposes.

The location of these various places can be a bit of a mystery to those who are new to the area and so there is a project afoot to put together an up-to-date map with the locations of these obscure locations on it so that the community can enjoy all that our area has to offer. This would help to make our community more walkable and support requests to council to assist with identification.

Do you know of any access points of interest?
Do you have any thoughts about letting the rest of the community know?
Do you have any issues you would like to discuss?

The 2nd November monthly meeting, 7-9pm at Progress Hall,197 Skye Point Rd, Coal Point, will discuss this project and is keen to gather the thoughts of the community. If you know a bit of the local history or any mystery locations, or have a picture to include we’d love to hear from you.

Get alon’ little doggy- Leash Free discussion

At the October Progress meeting an initial discussion was had considering the relocation of the Leash Free dog area from Birriban to Gurranba reserve.

Some of the points that were considered included the increasing usage of Birriban reserve and the increasing incompatibility of free ranging dogs in close proximity to cars, trailers, children’s playground and fish cleaning facilities.

A relocation of the leash free area to Gurranba reserve which is larger, has less vehicle traffic but still provides foreshore and toilet facilities is being considered at the November meeting.

If you have any thoughts regarding this proposed change please contact the Progress Association or come along to the meeting on Monday 2nd November, 7pm, at Progress Hall, 197 Skye Point Rd, Coal Point

Transition Initiatives- What are they and how do you do one?

Have you been wondering what The Transition Movement is all about? The Steering group has as well and have come up with some goals for the group.
  • To raise the awareness of people who live in the area about Peak Oil and Climate change,and
  • to get some local initiatives happening and to increase the numbers in the steering group.
The way the group is going to go about this is through a series of film and discussion sessions.

The first film is ‘In Transition-the Movie’, 49 minutes of positive pleasure about how communities all around the world are taking on the challenge to move towards a more resilient community and happier lifestyle.

The discussion after the film will be a question and answer session with members of the local Steering Group about the Transition Town movement and what the local group gets up to.

In Transition-the movie will be shown on Saturday 7th  November at 7pm at Progress Hall, 197 Skye Point Road, Coal Point. Entry is free and supper will be available.

The next meeting of the Steering group will be on Monday 21st November where we discover the wonders of Permaculture at one of the member’s homes. If you’re interested in coming along contact Di on 49 705 695

Coal Point Reserves Workshop - by Robyn Gill Landcare coordinator

The Carey Bay Wetlands, Burnage and Gurranba Reserves were the focus for the Lake Macquarie Landcare Workshop in October.

The progress of major projects in these reserves was shared with fellow landcarers. A feature of this workshop was the management strategies of two significant weed problems as well as an opportunity to admire the great results of our partnership with the Lake Macquarie Council Landscape Maintenance Team for our area in Gurranba Reserve.

Giant Reed, Arundo donax is a major Hunter Catchment issue and has now arrived here in Burnage Reserve. Also known as Elephant Grass, it is a member of the Bamboo family and grows upto 6m high in thick upright clumps. The most likely way it ended up in the reserve is through dumping and the storm water, it is next to the drainage line on the Excelsior Pde side of the reserve.

A weed featured in Carey Bay Wetlands is another garden escape, Campsis (known as Trumpet Creeper) it is a problem in the rapidly growing National Tree Day plantings of the past 5 years. This native of Texas is a self clinging climber which is extremely persistent and hard to get rid of, but the Landcare team is trying. A transformation has occurred in the area which was previously covered with Blackberry and Wild Rose (with other nasties flourishing among them) so we are working hard to stop the new weed which threatens the growth of the natives.

One of the visitors on the field trip was Garth Chapman from Wangi Ridge Preservation Board.  In October Garth was one of 8 people who witnessed and videoed a sighting of a Koala at Watkins Rd, Wangi Ridge, the 2nd sighting in 9 months...Landcare making a difference!
The new reserve signs were much admired and many thanks to Lake Macquarie Landcare for organising the day.

Sensible Transport Forum

At the Sensible Transport Forum held September 24th by Transition Town Newcastle, a group of interested people decided to put together a discussion paper on Peak Oil for the Mayors of the five Lower Hunter Councils to highlight the issue of Peak Oil and the role local government can play. Two Councils in NSW, Coffs Harbour and Marrickville have already adopted Peak Oil Policies.

The premise behind the discussion paper is that ‘we must plan to leave oil before it leaves us’, that Council has a responsibility to respond to the concerns created by Peak Oil and demonstrate leadership by taking practical steps to address the issue.

The paper concludes that ‘the demand for oil is increasing at an unsustainable rate and already demand out-strips supply. Soon we will reach Peak Oil, if we have not already, when production will decline and the cost of petrol will rise perhaps dramatically”

The Sensible Transport Forum Working Group urges Council to consider a range of practical measures to manage a transition into the post oil era that include
  • Reducing Council’s reliance on oil, minimising consumption and dependence and educating the community by demonstrating leadership in fuel economy and the search for alternatives.
  • Promoting alternative fuels e.g hybrids for fleet cars and Compressed Natural Gas or biodisel for garbage trucks
  • Downsizing council cars and reviewing usage
  • Preparing oil vulnerability maps to assist in planning
  • Promoting public transport through higher residential densities along public transport corridors and town centres
  • Preserving and protecting disused rail corridors for future public transport options
  • Promoting walkable neighbourhoods
  • Exploring ways to promote community transport and investigating ways to better utilise the existing small buses serving local retirement villages and creating community carpooling schemes
  • More bus shelters
  • More cycleways
  • Introducing bike racks on the front of local buses
  • Promoting and encouraging community gardens and farmers markets
  • Protecting good agricultural land
  • Working towards integrated public transport ticketing in the Lower Hunter.
What changes would you make to your motoring if petrol was $8/L? What could we do within our community to help each other get around? Any bright ideas, new ways of doing things… this is the sort of thing the Transition group would like to look into locally.

Transition Times Film Festival

The News Year’s Resolution for the local Transition Steering Group is to hold a film festival during January showing a variety of films, 3-4 times a week, covering a variety of time slots each with a discussion theme. This is to enable as many people as possible to see the films and have a chat about what the ‘theme’ could mean to our community.

Some of the films that are being considered include Baraka, An Inconvenient Truth, The Age of Stupid and The End of Suburbia. These are all very powerful films with strong messages about Climate Change and Peak Oil and the effects upon our current lifestyle.

The discussion after the movie has the potential to be equally powerful as we start to create a vision for a more positive future and consider what the changes will mean. 

The Transition Town movement focuses on positive ways to address potential challenges, a great opportunity to create a resilient and community .