Friday, 28 May 2021

CPPA AGM & Social


The 75th Annual General Meeting of the Coal Point Progress Association will be celebrated with a social afternoon tea on June 20th, 2-4pm at Progress Hall, 197 Skye Point Rd. Everyone is welcome, especially our long term and new members. There’s 108 members in our community. It would be great to catch up face to face.

This momentous milestone for our community group will be complete with election of office bearers, reflections on the year that was (and wasn’t it a doozey!), along with plans for the future.

The CPPA has played the role of community glue for ¾ of a century with ebbs and flows of activity and enthusiasm dependent on the energy, activation and incentives of the time.

One of the hopes for the year ahead is to revive using the hall for more social activities such music and entertainment. The stage, sprung floor, acoustics and air-con make it a very useful space for gregarious gatherings of locals. To put together a social calendar a small group of friendly, motivated people are needed to get on board the CPPA bus to help steer the course and the AGM is the time to get your ticket.

Another topic of casual conversation will be the role and upkeep of the Progress Hall. As one of the few community groups in the City that actually owns its hall and covers all of the upkeep and maintenance costs, it would be good to reflect on how we can make better use of this valuable community asset.

The formal proceedings of the AGM will be 2-3pm.

The celebratory social will be 3-4pm.

The AGM agenda for the 20/6/21 is:

  1. Welcome
  2. Attendance & Apologies
  3. Confirmation of minutes of previous Annual General Meeting held 17/5/20
  4. President’s Report
  5. Treasurer’s Report
  6. Nomination of Returning Officer
  7. Election of Office Bearers and up to six other Committee members
  8. Confirmation of Public Officer- Suzanne Pritchard
  9. Nomination of Auditor- Veronica Lund
  10. Plans for the Future
  11. Close of AGM
  12. Social celebration of 75th Anniversary of CPPA
An RSVP will greatly assist in setting up the hall and getting the appropriately sized cake.

New Hall Coordinator

The CPPA has a new Hall Coordinator and Caretaker, who is taking good care of the hall and keeping on top of the bookings. 
If you’d like to book our quaint and warm space for a community conclave, the rates are reasonable; 
  • $8/hr for social gatherings
  • $12.50/hr for groups
  • $14/hr commercial offerings
  • $75/small function and 
  • $150/large function.
Hall coordinator contacts - 
mob: 0425 766 887 email: cppa.hall.bookings@gmail.com

TASNG Topics


The Toronto Area Sustainable Neighbourhood Group (TASNG) has been getting out and gearing up for some sustainably focussed functions.

Recently the crew got together for an hour or so to spruce up the Fire Retardant Garden at the Fire Station on Ridge Rd. If you want some landscaping ideas to tackle over winter to prepare your garden for summer’s heat it’s worthwhile dropping in and perusing the signage and chatting to the local fireies.

On World Environment Day, 5th June, the TASNG and CPPA will be celebrating keeping warm in winter without the expense by offering some tried and true tips at a stall at Woollies-Toronto. There’ll be take away tips on recycling and some give-aways to support sustainability. You can catch up with our local sustainability champions from 10am till noon.

TASNG's Waste Warrior Steve Dewer has been on the hunt for businesses doing their bit to support recycling, here a handy list of what he found.

What’s happening with the foreshore Masterplan?

The Toronto Foreshore Masterplan was discussed and accepted by Council’s Built & Natural Assets Standing Committee on Monday 10 May and was adopted at Council’s Ordinary meeting on 24 May. The plan was only slightly modified following public consultation in March with a detailed report and revised plan being available at https://www.lakemac.com.au/Our-Council/Council-meetings. The 181 submissions had made various issues of concern including:

Traffic and parking issues are essentially dismissed with Council resolving to deal with these in one or two years via other planning strategies. Whilst a paved drop-off parking area will be provided near the Bath Street ramp there will not be dedicated trailer parking. There will be less car parking with this plan than before because of the loss of informal car parking at Bath Street.

There is no certainty whether a cafe will be part of the intended mix of uses for the proposed Bath Street single-storey building since it is stated several times that ‘The commercial venue proposed at Bath Street is not use-specific and can provide a number of end-uses depending on demand. Market testing will be undertaken during the detailed design.’

The rotunda (recently improved and widely used) near Tinto’s cafe will be demolished and a new type of rotunda built where an entry pavilion is planned.

Council has no intention to reclassify the Bath Street site from ‘operational’ to ‘community’ land. Council’s September 2019 resolution stated that it ‘Commences the process of investigating the reclassification of all or part of the Bath Street and Victory Row site to community land….’. To date

Council has not advised the community why it considers this land will not be reclassified, other than some commentary by staff related to ease of commercial leases.

The two remaining Victory Row properties will be demolished. No 5 Victory Row (2 storey house, dating to 1906), has the potential to be heritage listed and could be adapted for community uses.

The community might wonder whether Council is actually serious about public exhibition and comment when it so obviously ignores anything that does not accord with its predetermined position. Why go to such time and expense on the masterplan and then worsen traffic and parking congestion so that it will be more difficult for people to get to the Foreshore and Town.

Image: Toronto Foreshore Masterplan

‘ISN’T IT A PITY’ – Mel Steiner

In the words of George Harrison, ‘isn’t it a pity’ that Lake Macquarie City Council cannot develop - what could and should be a great Toronto Foreshore Park, into something that will attract the community and visitors and therefore – to use their words, ‘activate the foreshore’.

Instead, the current draft plan reduces the amount of parking, eliminates a boat ramp, and includes plans for a council owned revenue earning café / restaurant with its own parking – 8 or so spaces and not nearly enough, which means their customers will also be competing for parking spaces in the area. The one remaining publicly accessible ramp will become unusable because there is no boat trailer parking and combined with reduced car parking and almost negligible public transport, the result will be a deactivated foreshore.

Importantly, it will also have a negative impact on existing Toronto businesses that are already ‘activating’ the foreshore by providing facilities that encourage sizeable numbers of the community and visitors to make use of this fabulous foreshore location. Council should be working with local businesses, not against them.

Heaven Can Wait on target for half a million in 2022


The 15th year of the Heaven Can Wait Charity Sailing Regatta (HCW) raised $38,000, bringing the total raised so far to $470k and set the goal of $500k for 2022. The event is the centrepiece of Lakefest – a celebration of aquatic and land-based activities on and around Lake Macquarie and hosted by the Toronto Royal Motor Yacht Club.

Regatta Director and Vice Commodore of the RMYC– Mel Steiner said “The money raised is primarily for the Hunter Branch of Cancer Council NSW and their Home Help Program – a program that supports recovering and terminal cancer patients who are unable to perform their domestic duties because of their condition. The regatta also raises money for Lake Macquarie Marine Rescue who provide on water support during the running of the regatta.”

The regatta not only brings boats from local ports – Newcastle to Sydney, but as far away as Queensland and Victoria and is a key activity that supports the council’s objective of activating the Toronto Foreshore.
Image S Pritchard.

Volunteer Tributes for Gwen Johnston and John Benning

The Toronto Community Centenary Hub recently celebrated the life and dedication of two community stalwarts, Gwen Johnston and John Benning.

Gwen Johnston was a tireless community spirited person. Words that come to mind when we think of Gwen are intelligent, determined, independent and community minded.

She was a single parent to six children and somehow managed to retrain as an accountant and still have time to work as a volunteer. Gwen started volunteer work over 40 years ago with the Toronto Pensioners & Citizen Association that was based in Carey Street, Toronto.

When the organisation was moved, Gwen with a dedicated group of members, liaised with the council for over ten years to establish a new Seniors Centre at 97 The Boulevarde, Toronto. After many setbacks this was accomplished in 1997 and the hall was finished in 2000.

The hall is still a fantastic asset to the community and still being used by local seniors. We are reinstating the gardens with volunteer help and dedicating the front garden as “Gwen’s Garden” as without her vision we would not have such a great place to be in.

John Benning was the perfect neighbour for The Hub. He became ‘The grounds keeper’ maintaining immaculate lawns (just like his) and ‘The Gatekeeper’ with his cheerful, friendly manner greeting many enquiring visitors and tradespeople.

John was frequently in his garden or shed and often ready for a chat, making many friends and lending to the “home away from home” feel of the place. He would know who was coming or going, when and why, keep the custodians in the loop and be counted on to open or close the hall or supply keys when needed.

John continued to be our gatekeeper right up until he was hospitalized in early February 2021. We have lost a valuable member of our team but even more so, a wonderful friend.

We will dedicate the Banksia tree as ‘John’s tree’ in his honour as the garden grows better there with the tree overlooking it just as John looked over our garden.

The Coal Point School – Naturespace & Community Hub project is almost finished!

An update from The Naturespace Team – Lindy, Libby & Sarah

After many wet weather hold-ups, our grant project at Coal Point Public School is racing toward the finish line! The project funds were awarded in 2019 by the NSW State Government as part of their community grant program.

The education trail is complete and winds around the periphery of “top field” at the school. Take a stroll outside of school hours and see the stellar trail work by Synergy Trails – it looks fantastic.

The Naturespace portion is still surrounded by construction fencing, adjacent to Rofe Street, but is almost finished. The last couple of days have seen the installation of “nature play” elements by Timber Creations, a specialist builder from the Central Coast. Through community surveys and teacher input, you helped choose this really cool design. Thank you!

There is still some finishing work to do in this area including soil preparation, weed removal & planting. Please help us by staying outside this area despite the overwhelming temptation to explore & play. When it’s ready, the construction fencing will come down and there will be an official opening.

If you’re able to participate in planting activities please let us know through our Facebook site or the school office.

Further updates, community consultation and opportunities for involvement will be posted on the project Facebook page, Coal Point Primary School Naturespace & Community Hub.




Birds in the bush

A couple of interesting observations from the March bird survey conducted by avian enthusiasts Rob Palazzi and Michael Paver.
“Excitement plus with a few of the little birds present again. They’ve been missing for a few months, but, whilst not in big numbers, a few have reappeared.

Interesting also with the Satin Bowerbirds - they seem to be fairly regular now in Noorumba Reserve and sometimes flying between that and the Puntei Creek Wetlands Reserve. The bowers in the Wetlands and the West Ridge South appear to be gone, but Michael and I wonder if they might start again in Noorumba. Any local knowledge for that reserve would be useful.

The Carey Bay Wetlands is showing trends in numbers for the two most populous species - Noisy Miner and Rainbow Lorikeet, with the Miners declining and the Rainbows increasing over the last several years. It could be interesting to continue this trend mapping for this and other spots.”

Images R. Palazzi.

The times they are a changin’

Newstan Colliery pumped Hydro trial gets the nod and Centennial Coal’s closed Fassifern coal mine could be converted into a pumped hydro energy storage facility, with funding announced to undertake a technical feasibility study.

Works at the underground Fassifern coal mine ceased in 2014 after 125 years of operation, leaving a grid connection and excavated voids that could store water as part of a pumped hydro system. An open mine pit at ground level and void near the surface that could be repurposed as an upper reservoir, with a deep cavern at the coal seam acting as the lower reservoir.

Pumped hydro is seen as a key technology to provide the energy storage needed to support a future electricity system with more renewable energy.

Reusing the Newstan Colliery’s existing underground mine and site infrastructure is expected to reduce the cost of establishing a pumped hydro system and provide a blueprint for the development of other brownfield sites.

This project will explore the potential to utilise Centennial’s existing assets of land, geographic proximity to infrastructure, gas and underground mining voids to provide large scale energy storage and dispatchable generation in the future.

Image by hangela from Pixabay

Flying high creates low feeling

Image by Kurt Bouda from Pixabay
The CPPA has received concerns about an increase in low level flying over the Coal Point peninsula and the accompanying noise. The only way this can be addressed is for those impacted make a complaint to Air Services Australia, ideally including the plane’s registration number located on the underside of the wing (5 letters starting with VH-xxx). If they’re low enough to read it they’re probably too low. This greatly assists in identifying the offending operators.

Image:Kurt Bouda from Pixabay

DA In Play to 24/5/21

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

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