Wednesday, 10 November 2021

CANDIDATES’ FORUM, Tuesday 23rd November, 7pm to 8.30pm

Local Government Elections
4th December, 2021


 Additional questions that weren't answered at the Forum have been posted to the TAG Facebook page for candidates to comment

The change of date for the forum was made to accommodate the attendance of incumbent councillors.
The Toronto Action Group and the Rathmines, Toronto and Five Islands Sustainable Neighbourhood Groups have organised a West Ward candidates’ Forum to be held online as a Webinar on Tuesday 23rd November from 7 pm to 8.30 pm.

This Candidates’ Forum will precede the Lake Macquarie Local Government elections being held on 4th December. The Forum will give both Mayoral and West Ward candidates an opportunity to answer a range of questions submitted by members of the community.

Residents are invited to submit issues and questions by:
• Email - toronto.action.group.info@gmail.com
• Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/TorontoActionGroup
• Drop a note in to the CPPA letterbox (197 Skye Point Rd)
• Post it to PO Box 329, Toronto.

One concern already raised is that many Councillors seem reluctant to engage with residents and lack an understanding of what the community needs and wants. At the same time, there is seen to be a lot of ‘spin’ that promotes Council in the media but largely ignores community feedback.

Council’s profit-making operations appear to be interfering with its primary responsibilities to the community at a time when our rapidly expanding population needs more parkland for recreation. The failure to reclassify the ‘Operational’ land at Bath Street on Toronto’s foreshore as ‘Community’ (Park) Land highlights this concern.

Others have questioned whether some Councillors consider that the development controls are only a ‘guideline’ and therefore are too willing to allow extra height and bulk to large developments. The LEP allows Council to grant exemptions under certain conditions when in the ‘public interest’, but are outcomes more in the ‘developer’s interest’?

Other issues relate to lack of car parking and the need for more and better maintained shared pathways.

There is also a general concern over the apparent reluctance of Councillors to direct the Council staff on implementing important decisions.

It is pity that a majority of candidates have failed to complete the optional section (part 2) of the nomination form, which gives the opportunity to provide some detail on the candidate’s beliefs and policies – sadly in most cases we are left in the dark!

Mayoral candidates are:
  • Kay Fraser (Labor)
  • Rosmairi Dawson (Independent)
  • Luke Cubis (Lake Mac Independents)
  • Jason Pauling (Liberal)

Councillor Candidates are:
The first two listed candidates for the West Ward Councillors from the nominated parties are:
  • Group A: Jason Pauling, Lindsay Paterson (Liberal)
  • Group B: Luke Cubis, David Gibson (Lake Mac Independents)
  • Group C: Ingrid Schraner, Kim Grierson (The Greens)
  • Group D: David Belcher, Madeline Bishop (Labor)
Ungrouped:
  • Rosmairi Dawson (Independent)

For the 2021 Local Government elections, you will only be able to vote in person in your council area.

Local Polling Places are:

  • Coal Point Public School, Rofe Street, Coal Point.
  • Kilaben Bay Community Hall- Kilaben Rd, Kilaben Bay.
  • Toronto Multi-Purpose Centre – 9 Thorne Street.
  • Biraban, Blackalls Park, Fassifern and Fennell Bay Public Schools.

There will be additional COVID safety measures in place this election


Early voting or pre-poll is available from Monday 22 November to Friday 3 December 2021. Any person enrolled to vote may vote by pre-poll at the Meeting Rooms, Toronto Library, 7 Pemell Street.
  • Postal voting is available if you are self-isolating or believe you pose a risk to those around you

Voting on the day at a polling place you’ll be required to
  • check-in with QR code
  • 1.5m physical distancing at all times
  • BYO pen if possible
  • Hand sanitise at entry and exit
Another measure mandated under the Local Government Act to reduce the risk of infection from COVID-19 is that handing out ‘How to Vote’ electoral material will not be permitted within 100 metres of a polling place or pre-polling office.

Candidates' Forum

This is a good reason to join us on 23rd November to get to know the candidates before voting to ensure the best prospects for the future of our area.

Register now to attend this online forum in the comfort of your home at https://west-ward-and-mayoral-candidates-online-forum.eventbrite.com.au. You will then be sent a Zoom link the week before the Forum.

The Town Green

Many locals were surprised with the rapidity at which the fence was erected on the Toronto foreshore, and many have been frustrated at not knowing what is happening behind the screens, with the QR code on the fence not providing an informative link.

Below is the extract from the Feb 2021 ’Toronto Foreshore Masterplan’.

The Town Green is a generous civic arrival space, celebrating the termination of The Boulevarde at the foreshore.

The current shared Greenway will be extended along the eastern edge of Victory Parade to improve the pedestrian environment and allowing a generous consistent public edge - forming part of the larger shared-way network connecting to Fassifern and in the future, Coal Point.

It is proposed that the existing bus stop is moved slightly south to better integrate the stop and shelter on gentler topography and closer to the Town Green and upgraded crossing points.

More open than other areas of the foreshore, the Town Green links the activity at the Sailing Club with the attractions of the pool, cafe and playground of the Wharf Road Precinct. It is grassed and broad, allowing flexibility for major cultural events, regattas, ball games or simple every-day occupation.

The Town Green is subtly sculpted to create a shallow amphitheatre which addresses the water with a new stage and shade canopy. This canopy is a keenly located upgrade to the existing rotunda, and makes for a dramatic stage for weddings, performances and social gatherings right on the water’s edge.

Access to the Sailing Club and the quality of the ground plane surrounding it are both enhanced - forming a water square which can accommodate drop off and parking for 12 cars but at key moments can be transformed for markets, performances, or spill-over space for rigging during sailing events.

A more generous and upgraded edge to the water allows clear movement along the foreshore as well as improved relationships between visitors and Sailing Club activities.

The potential expansion of the Sailing Club is considered, with a potential expanded footprint shown dotted.




DA's in Play 9/10/21 to 9/11/21

The CPPA endeavours to provide a summary of active applications in our area as outlined in the table below.

Please consult LMCC’s website for a full listing: 
https://www.lakemac.com.au/Development/Planning-and-development-services/Application-Enquiry.
  • DA = Development Application
  • BC = Building Information Certificate
  • TA = Tree Assessment
  • CC = Construction Certificate,
  • CDC = Complying Development Certificate,
  • REF = Review Environmental Factors
  • SC = Subdivision Certificate.
  • MU = Mixed use
  • RFB = Residential flat Building

Two very different DA's on our doorstep, provides some local commentary on the various styles of development we are seeing. 

On notice for comment is 163-167 Excelsior Pde, a development that is including open space and tree retention.






Progress People Projects

Where have you wandered?

During COVID many of us were able to explore our neighbourhood on foot and by bike and you may have discovered some hidden gems. Perhaps it was a trek on a track that linked to an unexpected place, a sneaky shortcut, or a trot that got the heart rate up and had an inspiring view at the end. Did you tour on your bike somewhere that surprised you?

Wouldn’t it be great if we could share these travelling treasures? Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, we can. The CPPA has set up a Strava account where we can share our pedestrian and cycling activity. Strava allows you to generate maps of where you’ve been using a mobile device and upload comments and pictures. You can follow the Coal Point Progress Association to upload your travels

If there are any avid Strava users who would like to lend a hand at keeping up the CPPA account get in touch.

Gaming Session for members

The Underground Arcade is a new age Virtual Reality gaming Arcade located in Toronto. (67-73 The Boulevard Toronto). The owners have invited the CPPA to a free 2-hour session at the arcade and share in the experiences it has to offer, such as
• Three full size green screen room scale VR rooms,
• Motion simulators for both racing and flight,
• Squad gaming and internet café area,
• Two Kat Walk VR multidirectional treadmills and
• A high-quality sound system with phone connectivity.

With current restrictions the arcade can accommodate a maximum of 20 people at a time.

If you’re a gamer and a member of the CPPA and would like to come along, get in touch and we can organise a date. Members under 13 will require adult supervision for content control.

Join Up and Join In

If you’d like to join the CPPA here’s a membership form or get in touch with one of the Committee members (see the back page of The Chronicle). If you join now, you get a couple of bonus months as renewals run to the calendar year.

The CPPA members own a hall, and we want to put it to good use in 2022 with social events. If you like the idea of creating fun functions, groovy gatherings, or pleasurable parties we are looking for a gregarious group to lend a hand, choose the talent and assist with the hosting of these community extravaganzas. If you can help with one or several events, get in touch.

One event we would like to host is the Lake Macquarie Winds Concert Band. They have been in touch and are keen to entertain us. They are performing at the Rathmines Theatre, nawayiba (means ‘canoe place’), on 21st November between 4 and 6 pm. This is a free, COVID-safe concert hosted by LMCC.

We’re on the lookout for an assistant hall-coordinator to learn the ropes for keeping the hall in tip-top condition. Our current hall deputy will be leaving the area and we would like to share the knowledge gained of the various processes that have been put in place to make caring for our hall a seamless and satisfying experience. Please get in touch.

More local Muso’s wanted to Muse with.

A group of musically ambitious locals have started to gather at the hall, on the 1st and 4th Thursday of the month, 3-4:30pm, for musical fellowship. So far, the group consists of clarinet, bass, guitar, drum players and one potential voice. It would be great if there were more musos or singers involved. Whilst we are not asking musos to be highly competent, we are a playing group, not a group for learners to be taught a musical instrument. We are currently learning a repertoire of Let it Be, Moonglow, All of Me, What a Wonderful World and Moon River. 
Enquiries to Rob 0408 429 870, rob2roam@bigpond.com

Neighbours Noticing Nature

The Neighbour

"I’ve been creating a backyard habitat for the local wildlife for 30 years, I have quite a jungle now so possums frequent, Brush-tailed and ring-tailed, birds have regular stop overs, the King Parrots were feasting on my Lilly-pilly, the Kookaburra’s that wake me in the morning and announce night-time perch in my trees to cack their chorus. The wild animals are ‘my pets’ frequent visitors that I welcome.

One animal that is not welcome is a neighbour’s cat that now stalks in my yard, climbs on my veranda, and lays in wait. Whilst I have tried to discourage it with hissing and chasing, it erupts from my garden and skitters home…and now it has killed a kookaburra. The sanctuary that I have created has become a killing field for someone else’s ‘pet’."

The Research

Many cat owners don’t believe their cat kills, but research has shown “pet cats kill 30-50 times more animals per km2 around towns than feral cats do in the bush”.

A 2020 article from ‘The Conversation’ - ‘One cat, one year, 110 native animals: lock up your pet, it’s a killing machine’ elaborates on these findings, and what can be done to reduce the cat attack impact and concludes “Keeping your cat securely contained 24 hours a day is the only way to prevent it from killing wildlife.”

The Poem

Killer Kitties by Suzanne Pritchard

I have a killer kitty and it looks so very cute
It likes to kill most anything that moves or tweets or hoots
I saw it with a blue tongue just the other day
It patted and it petted it to try and make it play.

But the Bluey’s lungs were punctured, and its head was kind of mauled,
So off into the compost bin the lifeless lump was hauled.
Then kitty found a lorikeet, a tawny frogmouth too
But the birds no longer twittered, only feathers left, half chewed.

We haven’t lived here very long my killer cat and I,
And I wonder why the birds no longer chirp when I go by?
There used to be such wildlife, it’s why we got this place
But now the eerie silence is my killer cat’s disgrace.

Perhaps I’ll get a bell and keep kitty in at night,
We’ll cuddle up together and stop the murderous blight
It’s such a shame the birds have gone, not just for us, but all
I guess the time has come at last to be cat responsible.



The Christmas COVID cash grab is in full flight!

The number crunchers are expecting a big pre-Christmas spend, followed by a Christmas lavish, then a Boxing Day fork-out, which might roll into Australia Day cough-up, Valentines Day dish-out and Easter expend…so many dollars in circulation but are they also doing good?

Whilst some local businesses have thrived over the pandemic period, many are hanging in there, hoping local pockets and purses will be emptying their contents at their registers.

Many of our local shops offer vouchers for goods or services. These are the gifts that give and keep on giving. What good will your giving generate this year to support a community coming out of COVID?

How about coffee or lunch vouchers, haircut vouchers (we all know how much they were missed), supporting charity op shops, local clothes, shoes, and gift establishments, local online businesses via the Toronto & Westlakes’ Community Notice Board (Facebook). Looking for Australian made? Take the time to have a wander, you’ll find it.

The other issue is with shelves in the big stores looking to empty due to import impediments, finding a local gift on a shelf may turn out to be a relaxing way to spend a daytrip to Toronto.

Is Munibung on your mind?

Have you enjoyed meandering around Munibung Hill over the years? 


There is finally a Management Plan proposal on exhibition for this prominent landmark. However, there are competing ideas about how it should be ‘managed’, some of which include building roads to the top and having structures built. Many people, however, would prefer it to stay much as it is, a pleasant place to go for a quiet walk with quite spectacular views.

The Management and Concept Plans will be on public exhibition from 8 November to 20 December and can be viewed on the Shape Lake Mac page. More information is in the Munibung Musings Newsletter

Saturday, 9 October 2021

TASNG Tips

Annual General Meeting

You're invited to the online Annual General Meeting of Toronto Area Sustainable Neighbourhood Group on Wednesday 13 October, 5pm, via Zoom

Register in advance for this Zoom meeting:

The AGM Agenda will be

1. Welcome – Acknowledgement of Country
2. Attendance & Apologies
3. To confirm the Minutes of the AGM held on 11 November 2020.
4. Reports
5. Election of Office bearers - To elect an executive committee
Nominations for each of these positions should reach the Secretary at least ONE week prior to the meeting date. Please email torontoareasng@gmail.com.
6. To determine an annual membership fee.
7. To conduct any other business as required.

The October monthly meeting will follow the AGM

Looking after Locals after lockdown

As we emerge from our health hiatus and tentatively step forth along the road to recovery, spare a thought, and some cash, to support our local business that have done it tough over the past months. If you can buy local, you’ll be keeping our community humming along and providing the goods and services we need.

Transitioning to plastic free

The NSW Plastics Action Plan sets out several actions to better manage plastics and reduce their environmental impact, including phasing out some of the most littered plastic items through new legislation.

The Action Plan targets are to work towards national waste targets including:
• phase out problematic and unnecessary plastics by 2025
• ban the export of waste plastic, paper, glass and tyres, starting in 2021
• reduce the total waste generated in Australia by 10% per person by 2030
• recover an average 80% of resources from all waste streams by 2030
• significantly increase the use of recycled content by government and industry.

TASNG are starting to plan for the next phase of our Plastic Free Lake Mac campaign, with a focus on supporting our local businesses to make the transition away from plastic items such as "reusable" thick plastic bags, veggie bags, coffee cups, plastic cutlery, stirrers and straws.

What are your ideas about ways to help local businesses, and how would you like to be involved? Please let TASNG know. If there are businesses we can support in Toronto to transition through writing grants and providing information we’d love to hear from you.

In the meantime you can recycle a whole range of soft scrunchable plastics through the REDcycle program at Woolworths and Coles



Candidates Forum 23/11/21 and Council Elections 4/12/21

2018 Community meeting crowd

This event has been rescheduled for the 23rd November.


West Ward residents will be asked to cast their vote for

Mayor and four West Ward councillors on Saturday December 4th.


The Toronto Action Group (TAG) has combined with other Westlakes community and Sustainability Neighbourhood Groups from Toronto, Five Bays and Rathmines, to host a Candidates’ Forum to get to know the councillor and mayoral candidates.


Due to COVID concerns, only candidates and event coordinators will be present at the venue however the audience will be able to view the discussions online and get responses to the questions they have submitted to the candidates.

What are the issues they'll be championing? What is their community background and how will they represent the community?

The past few years have highlighted how much and how little some councillors do for the local community. Do we want invisible placeholders or active champions?

This forum is the beginning of our 3-year relationship with our reps. and this is our get to know you speed date.

Do you have a question you’d like to ask the candidates or an issue you’d like to hear their thoughts on?
• Email - toronto.action.group.info@gmail.com
• Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/TorontoActionGroup
• Drop a note in to the CPPA letterbox (197 Skye Point Rd)
• Post it to PO Box 329, Toronto.

The TAG team will be collecting and collating questions to pose to the candidates on the night.

Register to attend the online forum here.


The July Chronicle Article below provided more background to why the Forum is being held.

____________________________________________________

The postponed Council elections of last year will now be held on Saturday 4th September this year. Westlakes residents will be asked to cast their vote for Mayor and four West Ward Councillors.

The Toronto Action Group has combined with other Westlakes community/sustainability groups to host a West Ward and Mayoral Candidates’ Forum online. 

We won’t know until November 4th who the candidates will be. But we already know the issues that affect us. Some are very local (e.g. kerbs and footpaths) whilst others affect most of Westlakes (e.g. traffic, parking, lake access and loss of trees).

Council has made progress on environmental, social and economic health. The Toronto Foreshore Masterplan, the Walking and Cycling Strategy and the draft Lake Activation Strategy hold out hope of further improvements.

Nevertheless, there have been some huge frustrations. Not least were the wasted two years arguing over the proposed multi-storey apartment block on Toronto’s foreshore that the community was not asked about and never wanted. Increased building density is being poorly planned with more and more traffic clogging roads and chasing less parking space.

Behind all of this is an often fractured and strained relationship with the present Council and Councillors. Some ward Councillors have been reluctant to consult with their community. Wendy Harrison (retiring) has done so but with little support from her fellow Councillors.

It’s not just politics. The new organisational structure and attitude of senior Council staff have made community engagement much more difficult. Under the new structure, staff work in project teams across departments, many of which have been renamed and reinvented. Some staff appear to be happy with this arrangement, others not.

For residents it is now hard to find out who is responsible for what. Council has become opaque. For example, the Toronto Foreshore Masterplan was managed not by Planning or Parks but by Property & Business Development, while Rathmines Park masterplan was managed by Asset Management.

Residents are ‘consulted’ on a plethora of strategies and plans through the ‘shape.lakemac’ website. Their representations and submissions are ‘summarised’ in engagement reports, but it is usually hard to spot any changes made. Staff recommendations are put to Councillors, a few questions are asked, not necessarily answered, then the report is endorsed.

Is this ‘good governance’? Is the community being treated with respect? Are Councillors being treated with respect? Should ward Councillors actually support their communities on things that matter? Or should we just put up with the status quo?


Candid questions for the Candidates


The Candidates Forum will be an opportunity for community members to find out a little bit more about the people who want to represent us, their interests and their reasons for being our local representatives.

Do you have a question you’d like to ask them or an issue you’d like to hear their thoughts on?

The TAG team will be collecting and collating questions to pose to the candidates.

Send an email to toronto.action.group.info@gmail.com with your question, or use the TAG facebook group to pose a thought-provoker or drop a note in to CPPA letterbox or post it to PO Box 329, Toronto.

Register to attend the Candidates Forum via Eventbrite. Both online and in-person attendees will need to register.

Did you know? The Bath Street site is NOT part of Toronto’s Foreshore Park.

The Council resolutions of September 2019 specified that Council was to ‘consider’ reclassifying part or all of the Bath Street site to community land.

Council documents state that a Park is a parcel of community land that Council manages and maintains as parkland for the benefit of residents and visitors.

Because the Bath Street site (4 Bath Street and 1B Victory Row) is classified operational land, Council has now confirmed that it is not part of Toronto’s Foreshore Park, even though it is part of the Foreshore Master Plan (FMP) area.

Council officers are insisting that keeping the Bath Street site as operational is consistent with the resolution, but has given no formal reasons.

It seems that the ‘consideration’ of reclassification by Council officers has been superficial and they are trying to avoid public scrutiny.

This is not good enough. As long as the status of the land remains ‘operational’, it is possible for Council to revive a high-rise development or sell off this waterfront land.

And there are still some Victory Row lots that have yet to be reclassified, although Council has agreed to do so, so they also lie outside the boundary of the Foreshore Park.

With the delayed Council elections now to be held in December, it is time that the Mayor and West Ward Councillors tell us their position on the boundaries of the Foreshore Park. This is particularly important given that Council’s own planning documents identify that, given the rapid population growth, Toronto is in need of additional parkland.

This Council has wasted a ridiculous amount of time and resources trying to foist an unwanted high-rise development onto our precious strip of foreshore. The Master Plan offers a way forward but it won’t integrate all of the foreshore into a park whilst the Bath Street site remains operational land.

As they say, it’s a loophole big enough to drive a tank through it.

Will Council act in good faith or not?